BREC - Playing with a Purpose
UNLIKE ANY PARK SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY...
- BREC, the largest parish landowner in the parish, is a vital resource for free and low-priced healthy activities in a state consistently top ranked for high concentrations of poverty and pockets of poor health. It was among the first park agencies in the nation to earn national accreditation and, in 2019, earned an unprecedented sixth accreditation meeting 151 standards. BREC is a two-time Gold Medal Award winner and 16-time national finalist.
- BREC’s unique mix of facilities mirror the history and natural resources in south Louisiana; including a swamp nature center, an observatory, equestrian and RV park, performing arts theatre, arboretum, botanical garden, a water park with the only surfing simulator in the state, six golf courses, an extreme sports park, a velodrome, a Zoo, and unique partnerships such as a children’s museum, a library, and a bike repair education program in our parks.
- Working with other public agencies, BREC is spearheading an effort to create connectivity across the Parish, increasing green and blue infrastructure, developing resilience and flood mitigation strategies, and building new recreation centers that will double as safe houses during disasters.
BREC created a resiliency plan to increase green infrastructure and capacity to protect the parish from future climate events. Models show BREC parks stored over 9.95 billion gallons of water during the historic flood of 2016, enough to fill LSU Tiger Stadium 71 times. As Baton Rouge ranks second in the nation for bicyclist deaths, BREC received a $3-million CMAQ grant for a 7.17-mile bike/ped trail to connect the north part of the parish to the south. Additionally, BREC and DOTD developed the first parish-wide master plan for bike/ped trails.
The Baton Rouge Zoo is the first facility in the parish and third in the state to become certified as a sensory inclusive facility. BREC repurposed a 72-acre underutilized golf course in the most crime-ridden area in the parish. The 144-acre park now has an urban farm, the first outdoor fitness court in the state and will soon host the first local Boys and Girls Clubhouse.
Louisiana is second in the nation for drowning deaths. BREC’s new Superintendent celebrated the opening day of his first swimming season by jumping into the water with kids and announcing free swimming lessons. In 2019, BREC taught 6,560 free lessons to children and adults.
To see more about the information in the video above, check out the
2019 Annual Report.
BREC Announced as Finalist for the 2020 National Gold Medal Awards in Parks and Recreation
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce BREC as a finalist for the 2020 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue sponsoring the Gold Medal Awards program as it has for more than 20 years.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States 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 six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces.
BREC is a finalist in the Class 1 Recreation category, which is the largest category and includes agencies serving communities with populations over 400,000. Previous winners in this category include Fairfax County, Virginia (2019) Palm Beach County, Florida (2018), Johnson County, Kansas (2017), Cleveland Metro Park System (2016), Maryland-National Capital park and Planning Commission (2015), Chicago Park District (2014). BREC is a two-time national Gold Medal award winner (1991 and 1975) and a 16-time national finalist, including the past four years in a row.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. BREC joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.
“While this award recognizes the service BREC provided to the community in 2019, I am incredibly proud to receive this honor at a time when residents have needed us most, both at our parks and in their homes, during the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced our agency to quickly change our service model,” said BREC Superintendent Corey K. Wilson. “We know that parks are perfectly situated to address the underlying health conditions that have caused the COVID-19 virus to hit Louisiana so hard, and we will continue working to provide residents and visitors great places to reap the physical and mental benefits that parks provide,” said Wilson.
A panel of five park and recreation professionals will review and judge 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 during the 2020 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually in October. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming on the virtual conference website.