APRD Takes Home Top Honors at State Conference
By Parks And Recreation
Posted on May 05, 2015, May 05, 2015

APRD Takes Home

Each year, the Texas Recreation and Park Society (TRAPS) recognizes and honors individuals and organizations that have rendered significant contributions to the field of parks and recreation. This year, the City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department took home five awards, including the Gold Medal for Class I. The Texas Gold Medal Awards are modeled after those of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

The biggest achievement that a department can earn on the state level, the Texas Gold Medal Awards honor departments for excellence in the field of recreation and park management for the past three (3) years.

"The gold medal award is a testament to the dedicated team we have in place that is committed to leading our mission of providing quality facilities and services that are responsive to a diverse community and sustained with a focus on partnerships, innovation and environmental leadership," said Arlington Parks and Recreation Director Lemuel Randolph. "An award of this magnitude cannot be achieved without the support of city leadership, community stakeholders and Arlington citizens, alike. We are honored to be recognized as an industry leader in the parks and recreation field, and will continue to strive to provide a high quality of life for our residents through great parks and exceptional recreational opportunities."

Below is a look at the other four awards that the APRD took home at this year's state conference:

Promotional and Marketing Excellence
This award honors the most outstanding promotional efforts of a park, recreation and leisure agencies for the past year. In the months leading up to a major department event, Ecofest Arlington, a pseudo-mascot, Eco-man, was created with the initial purpose of promoting "green friendly" department events. The department created a short video promo for Ecofest Arlington in which a green-friendly superhero (Eco-man) was introduced. The plot of the video consisted of an everyday citizen rising up to lead the fight against environmental ignorance, and promote green-friendly living in Arlington, Texas. Eco-man became an immediate hit with the Arlington community.

Following the video and event in 2013, the APRD received numerous requests for Eco-man to make public appearances. He was asked to attend elementary and junior high field trips, events at the River Legacy Living Science Center, nature preserve tours, non-profit 5k races and many more. To date, the Eco-man promotion has amassed more than 75,000 video views on the department social media platforms and more than 150,000 organic online impressions. The campaign helped create interdepartmental continuity and, most importantly, helped create a rapport with a whole new generation of Arlingtonites which has far exceeded the agencies initial expectations.

Media Excellence
The Media Excellence award recognizes parks & recreation agencies and/or media outlets (television, radio, newspaper, etc) that provide exemplary coverage or sponsorship of park & recreation events, programs, facilities or issues.

The Arlington Parks and Recreation Department won the Media Excellence award for its inaugural Hall of Fame Arlington Golf Classic. The golf division of the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department collaborated with Arlington City Council, city management and surrounding business leaders in hosting the first-year event in September. The tournament was a rousing success, netting $10,700 for our junior golf programs after setting an initial fundraising goal of $4,500. The majority of the proceeds went towards the creation of Arlington's SNAG® Golf ("Starting New At Golf') program, a revolutionary approach to teaching the basics of golf in a fun and friendly environment to beginning golfers of all ages.

Partnerships with local media outlets helped create a great buzz for the event. The APRD marketing staff also did its part by designing the tournament logo, creating all print and digital marketing collateral, sponsorship packet and developing a tournament website complete with registration and payment gateway in-house. Despite a relatively small budget, the ad RPM (revenue per thousand impressions) from this campaign was estimated at $133. Targeted posts on Google AdWords and Facebook resulted in four teams registering for the event ($6,000 revenue) thru direct links back to the tournament website.
Best Website
This award recognizes the creativity or innovation in the development of web sites or home pages communicating and promoting the value of public recreation on the Internet. The Unplug and Connect website was judged on content, design, ease of use, and currency.

The Unplug & Connect website serves as the central hub for the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department's Unplug & Connect campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage people to unplug from their devices and hectic lives, and to connect with nature, family and community. The Unplug & Connect website features a clean, minimal design that is responsive to devices of all sizes. The homepage begins by featuring video content that promotes the Unplug & Connect mission. These videos were used as cable TV and YouTube advertisements. Following the videos, the site shares compelling statistics which link to more information about the benefits of connecting with nature, community and family. The homepage then uses large graphics to feature blog content from one of four categories: nature, community, family and wellness. The page concludes with social integration that includes Facebook comments and live feeds from Twitter and Instagram.

Maintenance Achievement
The final award the City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department won was the Maintenance Achievement for the Tierra Verde Biodiesel Project. This award recognizes creativity or innovation in the development of unique equipment to solve a particular problem; the development or discovery of a material or chemical to solve a problem; or the development and implementation of a system or process to maintain a park, building, pool or piece of equipment more efficiently or effectively.

Tierra Verde Golf Club, a City of Arlington golf course, is using biodiesel in its maintenance mowers. Fryer oil is collected from the golf course grills as well as some patrons and processed into biodiesel. The biodiesel is produced on site and blended with regular diesel fuel per manufacturer specifications. The biodiesel is much cheaper than petroleum diesel and eliminates a facility waste stream.

Headlines, News, Parks & Recreation