Mesa Parks and Recreation wins three APRA Best of the Best Awards

August 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm

The City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department (PRCF) has received three Best of the Best Awards from the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association (APRA) at their annual conference, held virtually, Aug. 11-13.

The three awards are:

Outstanding Adaptive Program: Certified Autism Center
PRCF partnered with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, a global leader in online training and certification programs, to become the first parks and recreation agency in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center. This designation demonstrates the department's commitment and dedication to serving all individuals of our community through adaptive or inclusive programming for all programs and activities. PCRF is confident families will feel comfortable visiting our parks, recreation centers, and pools knowing that employees are both knowledgeable and capable of providing support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum.

Partnership Award: Partnership with Dave Bang for Jefferson Park
Jefferson Park, 306 S. Jefferson Ave., has been an important location to Mesa for more than 25 years. It has been lovingly used to the point that it needed to be replaced. With the passing of its founder in 2016, Dave Bang Associates was looking for an opportunity to memorialize this community leader within his home and work of over 40 years. Company president John Wormell worked with PRCF to raise donations and secure competitive bid contracts to transform Jefferson Park into a premiere community destination. Thanks to donations and a federal grant, the park now has universal play equipment for all ages and abilities, ADA surfacing, three huge shade structures and several unique features, such as the giant BranchOut and the kid magnet Zoom Trax.

Young Professional: Oscar Venegas
Oscar Venegas has participated as a teen, volunteered as a mentor, and worked in the recreation centers for the City of Mesa for the past 22 years. Oscar was a Parks and Recreation kid and is now an outstanding Parks and Recreation professional. He works hard, cares and is invested. Oscar is a great example and a reminder to recreation professionals that what we do matters. The relationships we invest in and the programs we create can change lives. Oscar is humble about his incredible talents and huge accomplishments, making it easy for Mesa to recognize him for this Young Professional Award.

"The APRA Best of the Best Awards are a statewide recognition of our dedicated staff who work hard to provide innovative programs and tremendous facilities for our residents," Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Director Marc Heirshberg said. "It also recognizes City management and our elected leaders who provide us the vision and support we need to carry out our mission."

The City of Mesa is proud to offer over 2,500 acres of developed park land including 202 parks with unique playgrounds, first-class athletic fields, nine aquatic centers, splash pads, trails, six recreation centers, convention center, amphitheatre, cemetery and two spring training baseball stadiums.

Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities
Contact: Kevin Christopher
Tel. 480-644-4699