Unique Park System
What BREC Does Really Well
- SERVING THE COMMUNITY: By offering thousands of free and affordable healthy events and programs, BREC served more than 1-million people in 2021 in a state consistently ranked highest in poverty and poor health.
- HOLDING STORM WATER: A recent evaluation found BREC’s land held nearly 10 billion gallons of water during a historic flood, enough to fill Tiger Stadium 71 times.
- ACTIVELY INCREASING GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE: BREC earned a $4.7-million watershed initiative grant to enhance the largest construction project in BREC history to protect against future flooding.
- LEVERAGING TAX DOLLARS: BREC has been a good steward of tax payer dollars through partnerships such as housing the main library, children’s museum, parish-wide soccer program, bike-repair work study program, an urban farm community, the first litter boom in a local watershed and many others in its parks.
- SETTING THE STANDARD: BREC was among the first park agencies in the nation to earn national accreditation, becoming re-accredited for the sixth time in 2019.
- BEING UNIQUE: Through a mix of parks and facilities which mirror the history and rich natural resources in south Louisiana including a swamp nature center, observatory, equestrian and RV park, performing arts theatre, arboretum, botanical garden, water park, five golf courses, 30-thousand square feet extreme sports park and much more BREC proves to be a leader in the field.
- PROVIDING CONNECTIVITY: BREC is working with state and local partners to implement a bicycle-pedestrian master plan to add 450 miles of connectivity trails in the parish.
- SERVING DURING DISASTER: During times of historic flooding, major hurricanes, devastating ice storms as well as the pandemic, BREC offers emergency camps, virtual programming, mobile recreation units to shelters, distribution of meals and supplies in parks, expansion of free WiFi across the parish and shelter and staging. BREC received FEMA funding to create strategically located state-of-the-art recreation centers which will house emergency responders during disasters. These two buildings are currently in design.
3 Ways BREC Measures What it Does Well
BREC created a Partnerships and Development division and hired a consultant to help create a new Community Engagement policy to gain more on-going community feedback. A community survey asked what residents feel are the most important areas on which they should have input. Almost 1,000 respondents, with demographics mirroring those of the parish and 84% who visit parks at least once per month, indicated input is most important for park/facility designs, parish-wide plans, programs, and events.
BREC tracks attendance at programs, events, and staffed facilities with over 1 million guests served in 2021. BREC’s IT department also deployed an in-house pilot solution to track passive usage, utilizing over 1,000 cameras and artificial intelligence. BREC will use the data for planning and funding purposes. To better leverage private funds, BREC is working with a national sponsorship consulting firm to identify its most valuable opportunities based on usage and visibility.
BREC’s Natural Resources Management Division created rubrics for scoring parks on their ecological value and natural capital value. The rubrics assess a variety of conditions and services like carbon sequestration, urban heat index and stormwater benefit through reduced runoff. A stormwater runoff coefficient comparison of five BREC parks shows the difference development can make as a fully forested park has a runoff equivalent to 41 Olympic swimming pools, a partially forested community park: 81 Olympic swimming pools, one with grow zones: 89 Olympic swimming pools, another with partial tree canopy: 110 Olympic swimming pools and a fully developed neighborhood park: 260 Olympic swimming pools.
To see more about the information in the video above, check out the
2021 Annual Report.
BREC Announced as Finalist for the 2022 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 2022 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 Cleveland MetroParks (2021), MetroParks Toledo (2020), Fairfax County, Virginia (2019) Palm Beach County, Florida (2018) and Johnson County, Kansas (2017). BREC is a two-time national Gold Medal award winner (1991 and 1975) and a 17-time national finalist.
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.
“This award recognizes the service BREC provided to the community over the past three years and I am incredibly proud to receive this honor at a time when residents have needed us the most, both at our parks and in their homes, during the COVID-19 pandemic which forced our agency to quickly change our service model multiple times since it began in 2020,” said BREC Superintendent Corey K. Wilson. “We know that parks are perfectly situated to address the underlying health conditions that caused the COVID-19 virus to hit Louisiana so hard and will continue working to provide residents and visitors great places to reap the physical and mental benefits that parks provide while navigating significant challenges created as a consequence of the pandemic,” 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 2022 NRPA Conference, which will be held in Phoenix, Arizona. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming on the conference website.