Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation ranks among best in the country

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation has been recognized by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies for the third time in three attempts, dating back to 2010.

There are about 10,000 U.S. park and recreation agencies, and less than 2% are accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies. That list includes Sioux Falls.

“Really tries to make you better as a department and also holds you to high standard of providing great parks & rec services to your community,” Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation director Don Kearney said.

Accreditation is awarded every five years. This year, Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation met all 151 standards and received a perfect score.

“Sioux Falls Parks & Rec has been around for over a hundred years, and we’ve got a lot of policies and procedures in place, we’ve got systems in place, we’ve got standard operating procedures,” Kearney said.

Experience is where many other communities fall short on accreditation.

“A lot of newer communities that have parks & rec departments that haven’t been around that long, really haven’t evolved enough to really be able to provide that level of compliance with the standards that they set out,” Kearney said.

Sioux Falls was honored during a virtual conference due to COVID-19, but Kearney says Parks & Rec is up and operational. The Midco Aquatic Center and community centers are open and the department is gearing up for winter and spring activities. Allowing the public a short break from the pandemic.

“We want people to get out and recreate and get the exercise and mental break that I think we all need due to this COVID situation that we’re in,” Kearney said.

Registration for hundreds of classes, programs, and activities for the winter season begins Sunday.

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