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Dallas Park and Recreation Department has earned national accreditation in the field of parks and recreation through the Commission for Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The department first earned the distinction in 2016 and is Dallas is among 20 municipal park and recreation departments in Texas to earn the distinction.
CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. This distinction indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety and services.
“As a newly elected council member and former Dallas Park and Recreation Board member, I am passionate and fully committed to providing residents, visitors, and our communities with the best parks, recreational facilities and leisure programs,” said Jesse Moreno, who represents District 2 on the Dallas City Council. “I’ve seen our park system evolve into one of the best in the nation and I am excited. Dallas will continue to invest resources to make sure parks and recreation programs are available and easy to access for residents no matter who they are and where they are in Dallas,” Moreno said.
As part of the accreditation process, Dallas demonstrated compliance with 154 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures. Less than 2 percent of park and recreation genies in the country have attained accreditation. Accreditation signifies that the Department utilizes national best practices in all facets of the organization from recreation programs to park maintenance standards to business operations. The accreditation process often helps identify efficiencies and heighten areas of accountability, all of which translate into higher quality service and operation to benefit the community.
“We could not be happier with where our park system is, how it is growing and how it will continue to grow for the future. It has never been more apparent than right now that Dallas residents love their parks and trails, and they have given overwhelming support for bond programs that have further enhanced the park system,” said Calvert Collins-Bratton, president of the Dallas Park and Recreation Board. “Getting to this point took years of visionary leadership by Dallas Park and Recreation employees and Park Board members with the support of our City Council, partner agencies and innovative public-private partnerships,” Collins-Bratton added.
The accreditation process involves a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report, and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's visitations were held virtually. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years.
The Commission is comprised of representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network and the Council of State Executive Directors.