Plano’s Parks and Recreation Department is a class II finalist for this year’s National Gold Medal Award. 

The award recognizes excellence in parks and recreation through factors including long-term planning, volunteerism, environmental stewardship and community involvement. The class II division is for cities with a population between 150,001 and 400,000.

“Being named one of the top agencies in the country is quite an honor,” said Plano Parks and Recreation Director Ron Smith in an official statement. 

“Plano’s parks and recreation system reflects the expectation our community has when it comes to their quality of life,” he added. “The legacy of our department starts with long-range planning. The ability to purchase land ahead of growth to create an integrated, dynamic system is one reason the department is a finalist for this prestigious award.”

Finalists are selected by a panel of five parks and recreation experts. 

Later this year, Plano will compete against class II finalists Des Moines, Iowa; Henderson, Nevada; and Wichita, Kansas for the Grand Plaque Award honor. The winner will be announced in September at the 2022 National Recreation and Park Association Annual Conference in Phoenix.

If Plano wins, it will be the fifth time the city has been awarded the top prize. 

Earlier this spring, Local Profile reported that nonprofit organization Trust For Public Land listed Plano as having the 15th best park system in the country and the best in Texas.

“We have the robust system we have today because of this collective, continuous commitment to planning for Plano’s future,” Kelley Crimmins of Plano Parks and Recreation said back in 2021. “We also thank the residents of Plano for their continued investment and support, which has been proven throughout past bond elections.”

Brian Ashcraft

A native of North Texas, Brian Ashcraft previously lived in Japan for over two decades. He has authored six books, including the award-winning Japanese Whisky and The Japanese Sake Bible. Prior to joining...