Tag: innovation

NRPA Recognizes Spokane Parks and Recreation with Its Best in Innovation Award

Press release content from Globe Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Ashburn Va.,, Oct. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the nation’s leading advocate for parks and recreation, is proud to recognize the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation Department in Spokane, Washington, with its Best in Innovation Award. The award, which symbolizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation, was presented virtually, Oct. 28, 2020, as part of the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference: A Virtual Experience.

Also the recipient of NRPA’s Innovation in Park Design Award, the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation was recognized for the redevelopment of Riverfront Park — an area surrounding Spokane Falls and a sacred gathering space of the Spokane tribe. The project transformed the park into a vibrant and sustainable space that links north and south, bringing community together at the river and providing places that celebrate the region’s history, people and natural features. Two of the award-winning park’s signature elements include the U.S. Pavilion, which features stunning river views, illumination, shade and a multi-use event space that serves as the community’s central gathering space, and the Howard Street Promenade, a new pathway that offers intuitive wayfinding with varied color pathways to local points of interest, including the river and quiet green spaces downtown. 

“NRPA is proud to present the dedicated staff and professionals of the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation with this award,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA President and CEO. “Like so many other park and recreation professionals and agencies across the country, they are making a positive impact on the communities they serve through innovative planning and designs. As their champion, we are proud to honor and recognize their accomplishments. Congratulations to the entire department on this well-earned achievement.”

Selected by the NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee, NRPA Innovation Awards recognize park and recreation professionals and agencies nationwide that have improved and revitalized their communities through innovative practices in park design, health and wellness, conservation and equity. To learn more about these awards — including this year’s winners — click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.  


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit  www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit  www.parksandrecreation.org.

Suzanne Nathan National Recreation and Park Association 703-858-4748 [email protected]

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Mundelein Park & Recreation District wins innovation award

The Mundelein Park & Recreation District has been chosen as a winner of the Power of Parks Award by the Illinois Association of Park Districts.

The award recognizes IAPD members that have displayed innovative and insightful ways to pivot their programs, events and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.



The Mundelein park district did that through free, daily online fitness classes; the GO Mundelein walking program; its transformation of the 41st annual Freedom Classic 5K run into a virtual event; a Mindful Minute video series addressing social/emotional health; virtual programs on topics such as baking, art, dance, language, STEM and sport; and a host of other initiatives.

“Congratulations go to so many people for this team effort during one of the most challenging times,” Executive Director Ron Salski said in an announcement of the award. “I am amazed at the ingenuity of our staff as we continue to develop new ways of keeping our community safely connected through recreation.”

The District’s Marketing Manager, wrote and illustrated, My New Mask, a story to explain to young children why they need to wear face coverings. Staff created a video of the story in English and Spanish. It was later made into a paperback and published on Amazon.com as a fundraiser for Mundelein Parks Foundation. The video has been viewed online nearly 4,000 times and has sold close to 700 copies.

Keeping our community engaged through online fun helped pass the time during Shelter at Home orders. The District posted daily Park District-themed activity sheets, including word finds, mazes, word scrambles, scavenger hunts, coloring sheets, and more. Staff also created a free, downloadable Mundelein Parks Activity Book.



Staff introduced online “Boredom Buster” challenges to keep the community engaged and entertained. Contests included Cake Wars, Art Wars, Best Pet Trick, Best DIY Obstacle Course, Mundelein’s Got Talent, TikTok Dance, Free Throw Challenge, Egg Decorating Contest, Pet Photo Contest, and more.

The District connected our community to a sense of normalcy by offering virtual programs, including baking, art, dance, language, STEM, sports, and bingo.

Dancers in the long-term dance program continued their instruction with classes on Zoom.

Staff reinvented the traditional spring recital into a produced video. They carefully recorded all

routines while dancers wore face coverings and then edited it into a final presentation. The audience socially distanced at an outdoor showing of the recital recording.



To connect our community to celebrations when in-person gatherings were discouraged, staff developed a Porch Party package. A 10 ft. colorful balloon garland was delivered to homes and displayed on porches.

Instead of a Mother’s Day event, staff created Marvelous Moms, a tribute video created with photos and messages submitted by our community. Local businesses partnered with the District and donated prizes for a raffle. Not only did this allow residents to honor their moms,

but it also was an opportunity to

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