League City will receive an award from the Texas Recreation and Park Society for excellence in the field of recreation and park management from 2016-2018, according to a Jan. 15 city of League City news release.
The city received the 2020 Gold Medal Award in Class II, which represents all Texas cities with a population between 75,001-200,000, per the release. League City’s population is approximately 106,000. TRAPS is a nonprofit educational and professional organization that works to advance the profession of parks, recreation and leisure services in Texas, per the release.
League City was selected to receive the award based on its work assessing community needs and tailoring programming to meet those needs, per the release. That assessment of community needs has inspired the parks agency’s focus on nontraditional programming during the last few years, said Kenny Walsh, League City parks and recreation superintendent, and Director of Parks and Cultural Services Chien Wei.
This includes adaptive programming, like water aerobics, physical education classes held several times a week for special needs students and regular programming for homeschooled children, as well as outdoor education, like birdwatching, scavenger hunts and basic nature safety, officials said. Given the city’s proximity to Space Center Houston, space-based programming, like Astronomy in the Park at Rustic Oaks Park, has been very popular.
The agency also established a long-range parks and recreation development program plan, which factored into the award selection, per the release. The plan was completed and approved by League City City Council in November 2017, incorporating citizen feedback into project development plans to be executed over the course of the next5, 10 and 15 years. Officials said 12 projects were identified in the 1-5 year plan, and seven of those are currently in design or construction.
Other criteria that factored into award selection include staff career growth development, efforts to promote public awareness of recreation, and parks and available parkland for recreational use, per the release. League City has 857 acres of available parkland, and 603 acres have been developed, leaving room for many future projects, officials said.
The letter from TRAPS notifying the department of the award stated that the parks agency stood out above the rest to exemplify committed dedication, the officials said. They added that when several hundred residents were displaced during Hurricane Harvey, the agency provided 24/7 shelter and three meals a day to those in need as well as laundry services, medical assistance and FEMA assistance.
League City Parks and Recreation staff members will accept the award at the society’s state conference in Galveston on Feb. 27.