Re-Connecting Cleveland project will be recognized at National Recreation and Park Association conference
Cleveland Metroparks was selected to receive a national award for Innovation in Social Equity for the Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER Grant project that links more than 66,000 Cleveland residents with over 4 miles of trails to centers of employment, schools, parks and more. Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioner Bruce Rinker was also selected for the national Robert M. Artz Advocate Award for his decade of service to forward parks and recreation. The awards by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) will be presented during the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference in September
Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts — both professional and personal — in the field of parks and recreation. This year, there are 12 categories in the NRPA National Awards program. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach.
“We’re honored the Re-Connecting Cleveland project has been recognized at the national level for Innovation in Social Equity,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “The project, which was only made possible through significant partnerships throughout Northeast Ohio, is connecting 66,000 residents to centers of employment, schools and parks, and providing a new link between Cleveland and its lakefront. I also want to congratulate Commissioner Rinker for this national honor of his service to parks and recreation here in Cleveland Metroparks and beyond.”
The Innovation in Social Equity Award recognizes an innovative project that improves access to the benefits of local parks and recreation for everyone in the community. The Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER project consists of five distinct trail projects that filled critical gaps in the developing active transportation network in Cleveland, Ohio, linking more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to centers of employment, schools, shopping districts and parks and recreation facilities. Most recently, Cleveland Metroparks opened the Red Line Greenway as part of the project that connects eight Cleveland neighborhoods through a linear urban trail. Later this month, Cleveland Metroparks will open the final two pieces of the project: the Wendy Park Bridge and Whiskey Island Connector.
The Robert M. Artz Advocate Award recognizes an advocate, an elected or appointed official, or volunteer who has demonstrated outstanding efforts to forward public parks and recreation through education and activating the public in their community, state or at the national level. Along with his fellow Board members, Commissioner Rinker has overseen record-breaking popularity and use of Cleveland Metroparks, as that organization has significantly grown its services, facilities and park acreage throughout the Greater Cleveland community. Notably, in the past decade Cleveland Metroparks has taken great strides in connecting our urban neighborhoods, rejuvenated the Cuyahoga River, and re-energized a newly accessible and enjoyable lakefront.
“I sincerely appreciate receiving this award, which I accept as recognition for the exceptional accomplishments of the exceptionally talented and dedicated team of individuals who make it all happen,” said Rinker.
“The NRPA National Awards and Scholarship Committee is pleased to honor the 2021 NRPA recipients of the Innovation and Spotlight Awards,” said Jennifer Basham, chair of NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee and parks and recreation department director for The City of Burleson Texas. “The committee was honored and excited to review qualified applications of initiatives and individuals who have made significant contributions to their communities through the field of parks and recreation.”
Cleveland Metroparks remains a finalist for the “Best in Nation” Gold Medal Award that is managed and governed by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award is the top award for parks and recreation and will also be announced during the 2021 NRPA Conference.
For more information about NRPA National Awards programs, visit here
Bruce Rinker, Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioner
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
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