Director of Parks, Arts & Recreation
Rick Herold


NRPA Gold Medal Department

Annual Reports


GP Parks, Arts & Recreation: A Gold Medal Department

City of Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation: Top 4 in the Nation again in 2017!

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for more than 10 years.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class, awarded on odd numbered years, for state park systems.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.

City of Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department is a finalist in the Class II category (population 150,001 - 400,000).

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. City of Grand Prairie Parks, Arts & Recreation Department joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA on September 26, 2017.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit or


2008 Gold Medal in Baltimore, MD

2007, 2016, 2017

Gold Medal Winners:


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  Our Story...
06/05/2017 3:04 PM

Celebrating over 50 years of existence, the Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation Department is dedicated to “creating a GRAND lifestyle”. The Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation department features world class parks and facilities, a wide-array of exciting program opportunities, and numerous special events throughout the year.

The City of Grand Prairie has over 5,000 park acres, including the exciting 3,000 acres surrounding Joe Pool Lake. The staff is proud to be the caretakers for the citizens of Grand Prairie and welcomes comments about the Parks system or recreation offerings of the city.

Dedicated to providing “world class service” the department has won the prestigious Gold Medal Award in 2004 from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS), the organization's highest honor. In 2007 and 2008 the department was nominated by the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) as a finalist to the National Gold Medal Award, one of 4 in America. Awards are no stranger to the department, for it has racked up honors for Park Development, Maintenance Innovations and Recreation programming over the past few years.

The parks and recreation re-birth in Grand Prairie began in 1999 with the passage of the ¼ cent sales tax for parks and recreation by the Citizens of Grand Prairie. With dynamic city leaders, trusting citizens, awesome partners and a dynamic staff, the Grand Prairie Parks and Recreation system is destined to be one of the finest in America.

Enjoy your parks. Play golf at your two golf courses. Enjoy some exciting recreation programs. Visit your exciting Ruthe Jackson Conference Center. Boat, swim or golf at Joe Pool Lake. Work out at the Bowles Life Center. Go for a jog on our trails. Take your dog to play at Central Bark. Re-invent at The Summit. We even offer the Grand Prairie Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum for that special time of need.

Come visit YOUR parks and recreation department…
…together we are building a GRAND lifestyle!