Bloomington Parks and Recreation earns fifth National Accreditation, meeting 100% of 154 standards

BLOOMINGTON – The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department has again earned its place among the nation’s top parks and recreation agencies with its fifth accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). 

For the first time since first becoming accredited in 2001, the department demonstrated 100% compliance with the 154 standards on which accreditation is based. 

Bloomington Parks will be recognized for its renewed accreditation during the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference in October.

“Bloomington’s parks, trails, facilities, and all the programming that activates them are a big part of what makes our community so special,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “I commend our Parks staff for their outstanding stewardship and their commitment to excellence. Together with the department’s two national gold medals, this distinction affirms Bloomington parks, trails, and programs as among the nation’s very best.”

CAPRA offers the only national accreditation for parks and recreation agencies, measuring an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.  Accreditation requires an agency to demonstrate compliance with 154 recognized standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety, and services and to document all policies and procedures.  The process for accreditation involves a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report, and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation.  (Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s visits were held virtually.)  Once accredited, the agency must submit an annual report of its continuing compliance with the standards throughout the period of accreditation. 

Paula McDevitt

“When our Department chose to pursue accreditation 20 years ago, it was so we could measure ourselves against the highest standards of our profession,” said Parks Administration Paula McDevitt. “While we have been reaccredited every five years since 2001, achieving a score of 100% during the upheaval of a global pandemic and in the midst of a complete shift in the way we provide recreation services to our community affirms that our approach is spot on. We are beyond proud to receive this objective acknowledgment that we are providing the highest quality facilities and programs for our community.”

CAPRA comprises representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network, and the Council of State Executive Directors.

More information about CAPRA accreditation is available at www.nrpa.org/CAPRA.

About the City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department

Bloomington Parks and Recreation is responsible for more than $85 million in City assets.  The Department manages 2,342 acres of property including 33 parks, 27 playgrounds, a golf course, ice arena, two pools, three community centers, three natural resources properties, 13 ball fields, 22 tennis courts, 19 basketball courts, and just more than 38 miles of trails. The Department is proud to be one of 171 agencies nationwide accredited through the National Recreation and Park Association Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies.  The accreditation standards are used as a management tool throughout the year for planning, operations, financials, community involvement, and evaluation.

Bloomington Parks and Recreation has been twice named National Gold Medal Award Winner for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).  The department took this award for communities with a population between 75,000 and 150,000 in 2007 and 2018. 

The department is organized and managed in four program divisions including Administration, Recreation Services, Sports Services, and Operations and Development Services.  These divisions are staffed by 53 full-time staff members and more than 450 seasonal staff. 

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. Digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation is available here.

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