All the hard work and dedication our community puts in to make our home the best it can be has been recognized and honored statewide. Both the cities of Auburn and Opelika win big at the 2023 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Conference. Keep reading to learn about the awards each city returned home with.
Opelika Parks and Recreation took home two awards from this year’s conference. This includes Agency of the Year and Innovative Program of the Year.
Laura Leigh Chesser, public relations coordinator at Opelika Parks and Recreation, told reports that the Agency of the Year award looks at your entire department, so to be recognized as the 2023 Agency of the Year meant a lot to Opelika.
In addition, Champion’s Academy won the Innovative Program of the Year. Chesser goes on to acknowledge this award, stating, “We’re really excited to win that award. We’re really proud of the Champion’s Academy, and we’re glad that the awards committee in ARPA recognized that as well.”
Not only did Auburn and Opelika win big at the 2023 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Conference, but Chesser was also named as the Alabama Recreation and Parks Association President for 2023. Recognizing that this is a big service role, Chesser says she looks forward to serving the entire state in parks and recreation and supporting other municipalities in all of their ventures.
Auburn Parks and Recreation won the 2022 Facility of the Year award for the Town Creek Inclusive Playground. This award honors a park or facility that embraces ingenuity, accessible design and creativity.
Elizabeth Kaufman, therapeutic programs coordinator for the City of Auburn, accepted this award on behalf of Auburn Parks and Recreation.
Kaufman, as well as Auburn Parks and Recreation Project Manager Kevin Kelly and Patrick Slaughter of the city engineering department, were all involved in the creation of the Town Creek Inclusive Playground.
Ann Bergman, public relations specialist for Auburn Parks and Recreation, stated that the playground won the Facility of the Year award for its focus on inclusion, mentioning, “It’s a very inviting, accessible playground that’s got something for practically every age and every ability.”
With all that said, it comes as no surprise to locals to see Auburn and Opelika win big at the 2023 Alabama Recreation and Parks Association State Conference. And we know that our programs can only get better from here.
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