Submitted by City of Noblesville
The Noblesville Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association’s (IPRA) Park Agency of the Year for 2018. The city was distinguished as the state’s top parks department at the annual IPRA State Conference Award Dinner on February 20 in French Lick.
“This honor confirms what our community already knows and appreciates – that our parks department offers programming, amenities and events that are second to none,” said Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear. “I am happy for the entire department to be recognized and the continual strides they make to be better every year, especially on the recreation side with new, innovative programming.”
Judged by an independent, out-of-state panel, the award is based on accomplishments, projects, programming and new partnerships the parks department has achieved throughout the year.
“It is an honor for our team to be recognized as Agency of the Year,” said Parks Director Brandon Bennett. “With my previous involvement as the 2009 IPRA board president, I know how competitive this award is each and every year. I am extremely proud how this award solidifies the hard work the department does to ensure we provide the services, facilities and programs our community deserves.”
Helping to stand out among other departments as the best in the state, Noblesville Parks has been innovative and aggressive with park development with the recent addition of the 6.5-acre Federal Hill Commons and current construction of the $10 million, 27-acre Finch Creek Park. Working with the city’s engineering department, Noblesville continues to build the multi-use Midland Trace Trail. In addition to building $16 million in new amenities, the department has spent more than $500,000 in upgrading current parks, including the restrooms, shelters and tennis courts at Forest Park.
Programs and events have seen an increase in participation. The past two years have brought over 325,000 attendees, an increase of 150 percent, and $185,000 in sponsorships, due in part to the of the city’s new urban park. The city worked to develop the public-private partnership with Klipsch-Card Athletic Facilities Group to bring Finch Creek Fieldhouse to our community. Noblesville also implemented a four-station, bike share program in 2018 through Zagster.
“Noblesville Parks hangs its hat on a family-first, yet professional atmosphere. The culture within the organization is one which leads to little turnover and long tenured careers,” said Bennett. “The continued progress and aggressive nature wouldn’t be possible without the support of the best team in the state, but also the incredibly supportive and collaborative city departments and administration, parks board, and common council.”
The Park Agency of the Year Award identifies an exceptional IPRA agency who shows involvement and significant contributions to the parks and recreation field. The winner strives to improve the quality of life to both their community and to the State of Indiana. Noblesville Parks’ staff have supported the IPRA with three past board presidents and the first ever, two-term president in assistant director Mike Hoffmeister.