–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: 12.06.16
Metroparks of the Toledo Area has won a record six first-place awards in a statewide contest among parks and recreation agencies. The park district received nine awards in all from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association in its annual Awards of Excellence contest.
“These award winners represent the best of the best in parks and recreation in Ohio,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “These programs and projects are changing the lives of people around the state and building better communities in Ohio.” While 18 different agencies received awards, and nine won first place awards, Woodward said Metroparks broke an OPRA Awards record by taking home six first place awards.
Three of the awards were in the Capital Improvements Category: The new Middlegrounds Metropark, which opened Sept. 17 in downtown Toledo, won first place for projects costing more than $2.5 million. Fallen Timbers Battlefield Metropark, opened in Oct. 2015 in Maumee, won first place for projects costing $1 million to $2.5 million. Westwinds Metropark, an archery park in Holland that also opened last October, won second place for projects costing less than $1 million.
A strategic land acquisition plan, which increased the size of the park district by 4,387 acres since 2002, won first place in the Natural Resources and Conservation Category. A new website, MetroparksToledo.com, won first place in a category recognizing Marketing Innovation.
Two more awards earned were in the Special Events Category: Holidays in the Manor House, a 40-year annual event that last year drew more than 25,000 people to Wildwood Preserve over nine days, won first place and the annual Outdoor Adventure Expo, held in May at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee, won third place.
Three awards were given in the Program Category: A grand opening event marking the opening of Fallen Timbers Battlefield won first place for historical and cultural arts programs. A series of new Outdoor Skills programs won second place for recreation programs and a summer camp program, My Mentor and Me, in partnership with the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, won third place for special populations programs.
A panel of 41 parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio judged the awards. The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on Feb.14 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky in conjunction with the 2017 OPRA Conference & Trade Show. One first place award winner will be presented with the 2016 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation, a “best-in-show” award.