Monday, December 22, 2014

Darke County Parks Wins 2014 Award of Excellence

Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2014 Annual Awards of Excellence winners and a local agency has been recognized. The Darke County Park District won a 2nd place award in the Historical and Cultural Arts Programming category for the Blacksmith Shop Historical Education Center project. The Darke County project competed against 7 other projects around the State of Ohio in this category: Cincinnati Recreation Commission-Art4Artisits, Cincinnati Recreation Commission-Black History Celebrations at Madisonville, Gahanna Parks and Recreation-Gahanna History Mural, Green Parks and Recreation-Community Art Quilt, Lorain County Metroparks-Three Sisters, 3rd place winner Worthington Parks and Recreation-Griswold Center 20 Year Anniversary Events and 1st Place winner Westerville Parks and Recreation-Westerville Mural on the Path.

As the Darke County Park District continues to develop its pioneer education program around its Log House, completed in 2006, there have been increasing requests from interested parties in the community about adding to the cultural programs held there. The blacksmithing trade would have been of utmost importance to the pioneer's survival during the time-period this historical area represents (late 18th century.) This project was made possible because of the amazing number of volunteers donating countless hours, materials and equipment. The Blacksmith Shop has become one of the most popular spots for volunteers and visitors alike at Darke County Park’s Shawnee Prairie Preserve. It has brought a community of like-minded individuals of all ages together within the Park District Community and is passing on an age-old trade to future generations.

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on February 3, 2015 at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. One first place award winner will be presented with the 2014 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation, a “best-in-show” award which includes a $500 contribution to the parks and recreation foundation of the agency winner.

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.

Incorporated in 1963, OPRA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 1400 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality parks and recreation facilities and opportunities for all Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio's natural resources, positively impacting local economies and health and wellness of its citizens.

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