Bringing Home the Hardware
Updated: Jan 28
Delegates from around the state gathered virtually this week at the 65th Annual Conference of the Virginia Recreation and Park Society. The conference provides an opportunity for recreation and park professionals to discuss areas of common interest, learn emerging trends in the industry, and acquire valuable professional development skills. Highlighting each year’s conference is a formal presentation of awards. This statewide program honors individuals, departments, and organizations throughout Virginia who have demonstrated excellence during the previous year. More than 90 applications were submitted vying for awards in 14 different categories. Judged by a jury of its peers, Hopewell Recreation and Parks was recognized in four categories. Awards received are listed below:
Best New Special Event Award – Jack-O-Lantern Jamboree
This Halloween celebration designed specifically for younger children and children with disabilities was held at the Hopewell Community Center and featured an indoor pumpkin patch, barrier-free obstacle course, messy classroom, spooky photo booth, and a variety of other family-friendly activities. The event served over 300 participants and was produced for less than $600. The program was made possible through a partnership with Special Olympics Virginia.
Best New Facility Award (Parks, playgrounds, blueways, greenways, trails) – Hopewell Riverwalk
The Hopewell Riverwalk is a 1,736-foot boardwalk that follows the shoreline of the Appomattox River beginning at City Park. The $620,000 project was the result of creative planning efforts and unique fundraising. The program was completed in partnership with Friends of the Lower Appomattox River and the HCA John Randolph Medical Center and is one of the most notable sections of the proposed Appomattox River Trail. The Riverwalk was constructed by John K. George and Company.
Best New Environmental Sustainability Award – Hopewell Restoration Project
Hopewell Recreation and Parks partnered with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the implementation of the Hopewell Restoration Project. Through the project, the two organizations celebrated the installation of 78 large trees at various sites across the city, including several park spaces. The two organizations also worked collaboratively to execute two invasive species removal projects and a rain garden refresh. The project aims to complete a variety of projects to improve overall environmental quality throughout the city while providing educational opportunities for citizens and local organizations.
Most Innovative Marketing Piece – Hopewell Recreation and Parks Website
To better communicate department information, Hopewell Recreation and Parks created its own website in an effort to improve efficiency. The website was built from the ground up at an initial cost of $76. The website was designed internally by department staff who now maintain the site and update content on a daily basis.
The department joins a very small and elite group of agencies from across the state to be recognized in three or more categories. “We are fortunate to have a team of staff who are hard-working, dedicated, and very creative in addition to very supportive community partners,” said Aaron Reidmiller, department director. The department would like to thank the many citizens who continue to support the department in all of its endeavors.