Sugar Land Parks and Recreation receives 2014 Texas Gold Medal Award

Pictured (L-R) during the awards presentation in Corpus Christi were T.E. Harman Center Manager Samantha Foster, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Mobley, Administrative Supervisor Jessica Luna, Administrative Manager Tanya Dannhaus, Browne and Recreation Programs Coordinator Kiah Crosby.

Pictured (L-R) during the awards presentation in Corpus Christi were T.E. Harman Center Manager Samantha Foster, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Mobley, Administrative Supervisor Jessica Luna, Administrative Manager Tanya Dannhaus, Browne and Recreation Programs Coordinator Kiah Crosby.

The Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) named Sugar Land Parks and Recreation the “2014 Texas Gold Medal Award Winner” in the 50,000-100,000 population category.

The award honors communities that demonstrate excellence in long-range park planning, park and recreation resource management, community programs and events, public input, marketing efforts and agency recognition during the past three-years.

Sugar Land was credited with a number of accomplishments during the past three years, including the following:

• Funding for the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation was established, a group that facilitates donations for parks projects.

• The City is developing an “Art in Parks & Public Spaces” program, commissioned a “Cultural Arts Master Plan” for the community and installed pieces by world-famous sculptor Bernar Venet in Oyster Creek Park.

• The City’s first Indoor Recreation Center opened in July 2011. The center features a multi-purpose room for classes and events, a serving kitchen, multipurpose exercise room, a gymnasium, locker rooms, indoor and outdoor seating areas, an activity lawn and connections to the future Imperial Park trails.

• Sugar Land doubled programmable space for seniors while maintaining rentable space for the community with the opening of the T.E. Harman Center in 2012.

• More than 281 acres of land was acquired for future parks.

• Voters approved bonds totaling $31.5 million in 2013 to fund two parks projects. The approved propositions included development of 128 acres of new parkland along the Brazos River with an adjacent festival site and a connecting network of nearly 10 miles of hike and bike trails and bridges.

• In 2012, the City’s Hike and Bike Trail Master Plan was updated. The plan encourages transportation choices that promote a healthy, active lifestyle and well-designed, well-maintained infrastructure that is safe for residents.

• A fresh, new marketing strategy resulted in the creation of the “Parks Posse,” formed to utilize social media to create a direct link to the public that did not exist before.

The TRAPS award was officially presented at the TRAPS Annual Institute in Corpus Christi on Feb. 21.

“We are honored to be awarded the Gold Medal Award from TRAPS,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Browne. “We accept this award on behalf of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, City Council, City Management and the Sugar Land citizens of Sugar Land, all whom made this award possible by working together to provide outstanding vision, direction and support of our award-winning parks and recreation department.”

TRAPS is a 2,000-member non-profit professional and educational organization founded more than 75 years ago to advance the profession of parks, recreation and leisure services in Texas.

For more information about Sugar Land parks, visit www.sugarlandtx.gov/parks,  www.facebook.com/sugarlandparks or call (281) 275-2885.

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