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Page last updated on November 17, 2023 at 8:54 am

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Tim Street, Interim Director, Parks and Recreation or 812-349-3706


Angela Van Rooy, Interim Communications Director, Office of the Mayor or 812-349-3505


Mayor Hamilton and Bloomington Parks & Recreation win IPRA Awards

Today Mayor John Hamilton received the Indiana Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) 2023 Elected Official of the Year Award for his exemplary support to parks and recreation and significant contributions to the parks and recreation field through active participation, advocacy, and policy. In addition, the Bloomington Department of Parks and Recreation won the 2023 Excellence in Resource Improvement Award, which recognized the exceptional management of Griffy Lake Nature Preserve over time.  


The awards were presented at the IPRA annual conference in Fort Wayne, Ind. 


The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department submitted nominations for both awards in August. Mayor Hamilton’s nomination read, in part, his “passion for uplifting and empowering the Bloomington community through active participation in Parks and Recreation’s health and wellness programs (as well as ribbon cuttings and grand openings for parks, playgrounds, fitness stations, and projects that the mayor saw through from conception to finish), his determination to keep Bloomington an accessible, welcoming, and thriving city, and his thoughtful additions and considerations to city policies, will long be remembered. Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton has proven time and again over the past eight years his dedication to parks in the city, and it is thanks in large part to his leadership and commitment that the Parks and Recreation Department continues to thrive.”


Mayor Hamilton, who attended the awards ceremony accompanied by past Director Paula McDevitt and current Interim Director Tim Street, said: “If ever there were an award given for following advice and letting leaders lead, this is it, because Bloomington’s Parks & Recreation Department has led all the way and advised me (and previous mayors) how to let them thrive and serve our community so well. Winning two national gold-medals, opening up our newest park jewel of Switchyard Park, gifting trails and trees to future generations as a Bicentennial celebration, and just delivering excellence day by day is how Parks and Rec rolls. Our community loves and supports them. I am proud to accept this recognition on behalf of all the department’s employees, board members and community supporters. Thank you to the IPRA, and to parks and recreation professionals everywhere. You make life good.”  


The nomination for Griffy Lake Nature Preserve outlined improvements that have been made over the past 52 years during which Parks and Recreation has overseen the Preserve’s management. The nomination ends with, “Small and ongoing improvements over the past 10 years to Griffy Lake Nature Preserve have in combination provided  considerable benefits. These improvements include the creation of bioswales along the gravel parking lot, to slow stormwater and reduce runoff into the lake; the ongoing control of invasive garlic mustard, bush honeysuckle, and autumn olive; and native plant gardens that support pollinators and add aesthetic beauty. The recreation resource has not been neglected, either; stand-up paddleboards were added to the watercraft rental fleet in 2018 and have been thoroughly enjoyed by the public. Picnic and fishing areas have been added to the lakeshore, and a viewing platform added to the hillside, while the trail system is the frequent benefactor of volunteer trail maintenance crews and Eagle Scout projects. The DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife has been instrumental in the management of the lake’s thriving fishery through fish surveys and stocking of crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and redear sunfish.”



About the Indiana Park and Recreation Association


The IPRA is a professional association representing over 1,600 park and recreation professionals throughout Indiana. Members include agency superintendents, directors, and other professional staff; corporations that supply recreation equipment and professional services; elected officials; students; and citizen advocates.


Parks staff with Mayor Hamilton at IPRA awards 2023
Mayor Hamilton, pictured with Parks and Recreation staff, holds the Elected Official of the Year Award. From left: Emily Buuck, Bill Ream, Becky Higgins, Mayor Hamilton, past Director Paula McDevitt, and Leslie Brinson.