NRPA Recognizes Excellence in Parks and Recreation with Innovation Awards

NRPA Recognizes Excellence in Parks and Recreation with Innovation Awards

Awards to be presented at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference

Ashburn, Va. (June 17, 2019) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the recipients of this year’s NRPA Innovation Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, Sept. 24–26, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, where NRPA will announce the winner of its Best in Innovation Award, which recognizes the best of the best in park and recreation innovation.  

The NRPA Innovation Awards recognize park and recreation agencies nationwide that have improved and strengthened their communities through innovative practices in park designhealth and wellnessconservation and social equity. The recipients of this year’s awards are as follows:   

Innovation in Health Award

City of Port St. Lucie Parks and Recreation for Rock Steady Boxing, Port St. Lucie, Florida

Innovation in Conservation Award

Metroparks Toledo for Howard Marsh Metropark – Phase 1 Construction, Toledo, Ohio

Innovation in Social Equity Award

City of Santa Clarita for Jakes Way Neighborhood Program, Santa Clarita, California

Innovation in Park Design Award

Three Rivers Park District for Nine Mile Creek Regional Trail, Plymouth, Minnesota

The winners of each of these categories faced off in a public vote for the Best in Innovation Award. NRPA members and the public were encouraged to vote between June 1 and June 7. The Best in Innovation Award winner will be announced on September 24 at the Opening General Session of the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference.

“NRPA is proud to recognize innovation in parks and recreation with these awards,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA president and CEO. “Congratulations to this year’s winners who have demonstrated their commitment to building communities through innovative park and recreation practices.” 

“The NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee is pleased to honor the 2019 NRPA recipients of Innovation Awards,” said Dan Olson, chair of NRPA’s national awards and scholarship committee and director of operations for Champaign Park District in Champaign, Illinois. “The committee was honored to review more than 100 applications of qualified agencies who have made significant contributions to their communities through the field of parks and recreation.”

To learn more about NRPA Innovation Awards, click here.

To learn more about all NRPA Awards, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit

About the National Recreation and Park Association The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit