(April 3, 2012) The City of Frisco Parks & Recreation Department has achieved national accreditation, making it only the 7th such department in Texas -- and the 74th city department in the United States -- to accomplish this goal. To date, there are 102 accredited park and recreation agencies in the country.
The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) presented City of Frisco representatives with a certificate of achievement March 29 during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“I’m so proud of our staff,” said Rick Wieland, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Achieving national accreditation means we’re managing our system efficiently, effectively and not haphazardly. This recognition is important because it signifies the City of Frisco is administering our resources wisely and utilizing ‘best practices’ in our industry.”
Established in 1989, CAPRA is a division of the National Recreation and Park Association and the only national accreditation program recognizing park and recreation agencies for excellence in operation and service. Accreditation is based on an agency’s compliance with 144 standards. CAPRA evaluates agency oversight of various areas including goals, objectives, planning, finances, programming, facilities, land use, volunteer recruitment, risk management and public safety. The City of Frisco Parks and Recreation Department met 143 of 144 national standards.
“When you go to a park or attend an event, you want to know your kids will be safe while having a fun experience,” said Mike Gfeller, Chair, Parks and Recreation Board. “Having an accreditation from CAPRA demonstrates to our citizens that we are doing this, that we take care and pride in what we do and how we do it. It’s definitely a team effort.” added Gfeller.
The City of Frisco established its Parks and Recreation Department in 1996. Wieland has served as the department’s only director since then. At the inception, Wieland’s employee roster numbered six, including himself. For the fiscal year 2012, Parks and Recreation budgeted for 291 employees.
In 1996, the department had seven park sites, totaling 57 acres. Today, Frisco’s Parks and Recreation system includes 36 developed park sites, totaling 669 acres. The system also provides an additional 794 acres of undeveloped land for 12 future park sites.
Wieland applauds all staff, particularly division managers, for achieving this prestigious milestone. He also credits Dudley Raymond, Planning & Business Development Manager; and Wes Hicks, Parks Project Coordinator, for helping steer the department through the accreditation process over the past year and a half.
“Many of the standards considered to be ‘best practices’ are principles we’ve been operating under for years,” said Wieland. “But we’ve been growing at such a fast pace, in some cases, we didn’t put these practices to paper. Working through the accreditation process forced us to better organize our policies, plans and operating procedures. We always heard we did a good job managing resources; but with this national accreditation, we have the confidence to say we operate under the industry’s highest standards.”
Frisco joins Austin, College Station, Coppell, Houston, Plano and Round Rock as the only cities in Texas nationally accredited. CAPRA reviews cities’ operations every five years in order for them to maintain national accreditation status.