WEST PALM BEACH — The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (PBC Parks) was selected by the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO) as the recipient of the 2021 NACPRO Award in the Social Justice category for efforts to break down social justice barriers through parks in the Glades Region.
One of the primary pillars of Parks and Recreation is to make parks and open spaces accessible to everyone and to be a champion of inclusiveness, fairness, and social equity. To achieve this goal in the Glades Region – which consists of the cities of Belle Glade, Pahokee, South Bay, and Canal Point – PBC Parks has developed eight parks in the region, in addition to municipal parks, equating to more than six acres of park land per 1,000 residents. In addition, PBC Parks provides one of the two public swimming pools, along with free youth swim lessons with the Drowning Prevention Coalition.
PBC Parks has also partnered with the Orange Bowl Committee, with additional funding from National Football League Foundation and Quantum Foundation, to develop a football field at Glades Pioneer Park. The $3.4 million dollar project includes a synthetic turf sports field, a new scoreboard and monument signage. A second phase, now underway, includes a new building with space for community meetings and health/recreational programming. An outdoor shaded fitness gym was later added to the park to further create health and wellness opportunities.
In addition to hosting annual health/wellness events with outdoor games/activities, fresh fruits/vegetables, nutrition/healthy eating tips, PBC Parks provides permanent recreation programming staff to the region and collaborates with municipal parks and recreation agencies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, PBC Parks has partnered with an area church to host drive-thru food distributions in county-operated parks.
“Parks have always served as a community gathering place and our goal is to ensure that all persons have access to a great park,” said Eric Call, Director of Parks and Recreation. “I’m extremely proud of our team and the effort they have made to break down barriers in the Glades Region.”
NACPRO is a non-profit professional organization that advances official policies that promote county and regional park, recreation and conservation issues. The Social Justice Award, new in 2021, honors a park system that has served as a change agent and made a tangible impact in the community and/or workplace by prioritizing a culture of equity and inclusion.
The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, recognized nationally for excellence in park and recreation management, operates more than 110 parks and recreational facilities and provides organized recreational programs and services for people of all ages and abilities. Visit www.pbcparks.com for more information.