Thursday, September 30, 2010

Department Wins Awards

The department was recognized with four awards at the 56th Annual Conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center earlier this month. The society’s statewide awards program honors individuals, agencies and organizations throughout Virginia that have demonstrated excellence in 17 different categories during the previous year.

Richmond was recognized with a Best New Renovation/Addition Award for its restoration of the lake in Forest Hill Park. Through the years the lake had been neglected and become so overgrown that many people did not know it existed. The department restored it to its original historic appearance while working closely with the neighborhood to preserve the wetland environment. The project came in under budget and was finished ahead of schedule.

The department also won an award for Best Promotional Effort for a Specialty Piece for its note cards featuring the artwork of children attending the department's summer camps. The note cards were used by the children to send thank you notes to people who made donations in the Send-a-Kid-to-Camp campaign. they are also available for the public to purchase at community centers and City Hall.

Also at the conference, CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, was recognized with a Distinguished Private Sector Service Award for its support of the summer basketball league. Since 2007, CarMax and its foundation have given $229,000 to improve the basketball courts at Pine Camp Arts and Community Center and to provide uniforms, equipment and staff for the league.

Sureatha McGhee, an employee since 1974, was also recognized at the conference with a Distinguished Service Award. She has been a member of VRPS since 1985 and served on many of the society’s committees.

“We would like to congratulate all of our award winners for their outstanding entries into this year’s competition,” said VRPS President Lakita Frazier. “Entries from around the state in every population category allow us to recognize the best in our business while raising the standards and quality of media promotions and events across the board.”

“As a department, and with assistance from corporate partners like CarMax, we work hard to provide excellent parks and recreation services and facilities to the residents of Richmond and visitors to our city, and we are honored to receive this statewide recognition from our peers,” said J. R. Pope, director of the department.

More than 700 professionals in the park and recreation field attended the conference. The mission of the society is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks, and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information on the society, contact the state office at (804) 730-9447 or visit