The Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department was recently recognized with four, Four Star Awards for Excellence in Parks and Recreation by the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association at its 66th annual conference in Franklin.
The Rotary Park Playground and Splash Pad took top honors for New Facility, while Teen Adventure Quest Summer Camp and Turtle Trek Challenge won top honors for Programs. Vice Mayor Jenny Brock was also recognized by the association with a Four Star Individual Service Award.
“I’m very, very proud of the quality of our entries, the facilities and programs we have, the quality of our staff and the support from elected officials that have helped make these awards a reality,” said Parks and Recreation Director James Ellis.
Ellis said the awards are a testament to the department’s quality offerings for citizens and visitors.
“We received four, Four Star Awards, which is the TRPA’s top award,” Ellis said. “We offer programs now that are open to all walks of life.”
After major construction, Rotary Park reopened on April 4 with a new inclusive playground and splash pad. The result was a rush of popularity and visitor totals pushing the 300 mark on nearly every summer day at 1001 N. Broadway St.
The facility was recognized as the best in Tennessee built within the past year at a cost between $250,000 and $1 million. The playground, splash pad, new sidewalks, walkways, fencing and parking lot were paid for through a $250,000 Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation grant, a $250,000 match from the City, and a roughly $250,000 donation from the Johnson City Rotary Club.
Teen Adventure Quest Summer Camp bested the Conservation/Outdoor Recreation program entries, while Turtle Trek Challenge topped the Health and Wellness program category.
Brock received the individual award based on her contributions to and support of the Parks and Recreation Department. To be eligible, nominees had to be either a city commissioner, council member or serve on a park board.
A longtime proponent of community health and wellness initiatives, Brock is a founding member of Up & At ’Em, which started the City’s Fit to Play camps and the annual Turkey Trot. Her nomination was supported by documented local legislation, newspaper articles and other awards and accomplishments.