City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department Receives National Award For Parks And Recreation

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The City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department was recently selected to receive a National Excellence in Innovative Programming Award by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award will be publicly presented during a special reception at the 2016 NRPA Annual Conference in St. Louis on Thursday, Oct. 6. 
Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts—both professional and personal—in the field of parks and recreation. There are 10 award categories in the NRPA’s National Awards program. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee, and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach. 
The Excellence in Innovative Programming Award recognizes and honors an agency that demonstrates leadership with advanced, groundbreaking ideas in programming.  The award highlights the efforts and impact an agency/organization has made in promoting or increasing the awareness of the benefits of parks and recreation in their community through offering a variety of programs.  This award recognizes the agency that best demonstrates programming innovation in two of the three NRPA Pillars – conservation, health and wellness, and social equity.
Tampa is a city that has built its way out of the recession and transformed its community into a vibrant, charismatic leader of industry and leisure.  Leading the way are two new and exciting programs, the Stay & Play Program and Tree-Mendous Tampa.  The Stay & Play Program focuses on curbing the rising tide of violence that plagued East and Central Tampa every summer. The Program offered free Recreation Cards and programming to teens (13 yrs. – 19 yrs.) at nine of our community center and five pools, seven days a week from 6 pm – Midnight.  The program designed to reach at risk teens and offer teens a safe, productive and fun alternative to hanging out on the streets.  In the summer of 2015, over 16,000 teens visited the 14 sites in 56 days and this summer looks to see even more participants.
The Tree-Mendous Tampa Free Tree Program was originally established in 1997 and then rebranded in 2013 as a part our commitment to renewing the Urban Forest of Tampa. The program is funded through the City of Tampa’s Tree Trust Fund.  In addition to planting trees, an educational component was added to help residents by providing the “best management practices’ for trees.  Since 2013, we have planted a total of 2,178 trees for residents of the City of Tampa.  That’s the equivalent of planting 2.080 trees per day, including holidays and weekends.
“These awards only reaffirm what, we here in the city, already know,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “Whether it’s keeping Tampa’s youth off the streets with our world class Stay & Play programming, that I truly believe has saved lives, or beautifying neighborhoods with our Tree-mendous initiative, our Parks and Rec department is world class.”
“Parks and Recreation staff is thrilled to fulfill Mayor Buckhorn’s vision for safe and fun summer havens for our teens,” said Director of Tampa Parks & Recreation Greg Bayor.

“NRPA is pleased to honor our nation’s park and recreation heroes—agencies and individuals who work tirelessly and with passion to improve the lives of their citizens and make their communities great,” said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of NRPA.
A full list of NRPA National Award winners is available at
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of more than 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit
For Immediate Release
For additional information, please contact:
Ashley Bauman, Public Affairs Director
(813) 274-8262