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The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce Town of Castle Rock as a finalist for the 2018 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for over 10 years.Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd numbered years.The Town of Castle Rock is a finalist in the Class IV (population 30,001-75,000) category. Castle Rock is known for its small-town charm, family-friendly community events and abundant parks, open space and trails. Established in 1977, the Parks and Recreation Department served a population of merely 2,000. Through robust community planning, nearly 65,000 residents now enjoy 87 miles of trails, 50 well-planned parks - including the reimagined Festival Park - and more than 6,000 acres of open space that define the region’s most prominent features.According to recent U.S. Census data, Castle Rock is the 10th fastest growing city in America, which tasks the Department with being a dynamic, progressive agency. The Department achieves community-driven strategic direction using interactive planning as its foundation. The Town’s 2017 Community Survey results documented that maintaining strong parks and recreation services is nearly equal to ensuring public safety as the top strategic initiative. National publications like Money magazine, American City and County and others have listed Castle Rock as a great place to live and raise a family, and Douglas County is the second healthiest community in the nation.Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials. The Town of Castle Rock joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.“This recognition demonstrates our ability to see opportunities in the face of dramatic growth,” department director Jeff Brauer stated. “The community leveraged its financial resources and public support to make parks and recreation a priority, and recognizes its role as being essential to quality of life. It is a clear indication that both department direction and skillful execution are considered noteworthy among park and recreation agencies in the U.S. We are honored to be considered for the Gold Medal Award, and we thank our community for providing us with the resources and direction to make it possible.”A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels. This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sept. 25–27, 2018.For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal or www.aapra.org.###The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org. The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit www.musco.com.