Roswell Recreation runner up for nation’s best

City has made Top Four list thrice

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ROSWELL, Ga. – Roswell Parks and Recreation Department has been three times a bridesmaid but never the bride for the Gold Medal award given by the National Parks and Recreation Association.

But as Roswell Rec Director Joe Glover pointed out:

“It’s still a pretty impressive showing to be one of the top four in the nation.”

And so it is. The Recreation and Parks Department was saluted Monday night at the City Council meeting for again proving it is one of the best recreation departments in the nation.

This year’s Gold Medal Grand Plaque winner was Waukegan, Ill., a city of around 90,000. The NPRA awards are given in four categories by population. Roswell is in the 50,000 to 100,000 category.

The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and agency recognition.

Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.

“The award recognizes well-rounded programs that meet the needs of the community. It’s the highest award they give,” Glover said. “Our service area extends outside the city limits of Roswell. So we serve 100,000 people or more.”

Roswell has more than 900 acres of parkland and dozens of recreation programs ranging from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball and gymnastics.

“Gymnastics is one of our biggest programs now. We also have dance, art, photography and many others,” he said.

One of the really popular new programs that just opened this past month is outdoor bocce ball at the Roswell Adult Recreation Center on Grimes Bridge Road.

“That’s going to be a big activity for us before it’s over with,” Glover said.

Still to come is the indoor therapeutic pool for the Adult Center, which is part of the recreation bond.

Roswell has come so close to getting the top award that Glover said they may try again to bring the Gold Medal to Roswell.

City Councilman Jerry Orlans said it is instructive to note that finishing in the top four these last few years indicates just how good the city’s Recreation and Parks Department is.

“That the department is consistently one of the finalists among all the recreation departments in the country demonstrates it is one of the best recreation departments in the nation,” Orlans said. “Every member of the department shares in the credit for making this possible.”

Orlans said he would encourage the department to try again for the top award. He said to come so close must mean it is almost there.