Switchyard Park. File photo

Editor’s note: The following is a press release from the City of Bloomington. Bloom has republished it here with minor edits for style and clarity.

The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department has again earned its place among the nation’s top parks and recreation agencies with its fifth accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).  For the first time since first becoming accredited in 2001, the department demonstrated 100% compliance with the 154 standards on which accreditation is based. Bloomington will be recognized for its renewed accreditation during the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference in October.

“Bloomington’s parks, trails, facilities, and all the programming that activates them are a big part of what makes our community so special,” says Mayor John Hamilton. “I commend our parks staff for their outstanding stewardship and their commitment to excellence. Together with the department’s two national gold medals, this distinction affirms Bloomington parks, trails, and programs as among the nation’s very best.”

CAPRA offers the only national accreditation for parks and recreation agencies, measuring an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community. Accreditation requires an agency to demonstrate compliance with 154 recognized standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety, and services and to document all policies and procedures. The process for accreditation 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 visits were held virtually.) Once accredited, the agency must submit an annual report of its continuing compliance with the standards throughout the period of accreditation. 

“When our department chose to pursue accreditation 20 years ago, it was so we could measure ourselves against the highest standards of our profession,” says Parks Administration Director Paula McDevitt. “While we have been reaccredited every five years since 2001, achieving a score of 100% during the upheaval of a global pandemic and in the midst of a complete shift in the way we provide recreation services to our community affirms that our approach is spot on. We are beyond proud to receive this objective acknowledgement that we are providing the highest quality facilities and programs for our community.”

Bloomington Parks and Recreation is responsible for more than $85 million in City assets. The department manages 2,342 acres of property including 33 parks, 27 playgrounds, a golf course, ice arena, two pools, three community centers, three natural resources properties, 13 ballfields, 22 tennis courts, 19 basketball courts and just over 38 miles of trails.

Bloomington Parks and Recreation has been twice named National Gold Medal Award Winner for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the NRPA. The department took this award for communities with a population between 75,000 and 150,000 in 2007 and 2018. 

More information about CAPRA accreditation is available at nrpa.org/CAPRA.