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MRPA Award of Excellence

New Hope Aquatic Park, Civic Center Park Receive Award of Excellence
Posted on 06/30/2022
New Hope Parks and Recreation has received an Award of Excellence from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association (MRPA) for its Civic Center Park and New Hope Aquatic Park project in the organization’s “Parks and Facilities” category. Elizabeth Owens, MRPA Awards Committee Co-Chair, presented the award to Recreation Supervisor Aaron Thelen and Recreation Facilities Supervisor Tony Portesan at the June 27 New Hope City Council meeting.

The MRPA Award of Excellence program recognizes agencies or organizations in Minnesota for outstanding achievements in parks, recreation and leisure services. A primary goal of the program is to increase public awareness and appreciation for the excellent parks, trails, recreation and leisure services available throughout Minnesota. The Park and Facility Award of Excellence for the Civic Center Park and New Hope Aquatic Park project was based on several criteria, including working with internal and external partners throughout the planning process, the project goals, use of technology in the plan design, funding, overall community support and impact of the project.

New Hope City Council approved master planning for the project in January 2017 following the decision to construct the new city and police station facility on the site of the 50-year-old pool facility. The project included the construction of the new aquatic park facility at the site of the old city hall and police station, and a new performance center, picnic shelter, skatepark and walking trails at neighboring Civic Center Park.

Although the opening of the New Hope Aquatic Park was delayed until 2021 due to COVID-19, attendance at the new aquatic park for its inaugural year broke all records held by the previous facility. In 2021, overall attendance reached nearly 47,000. The new performance center has hosted several movies and music in the park events, as well as the return of Off-Broadway Musical Theatre’s summer productions.

New Hope Parks and Recreation has received several MRPA Awards of Excellence over the years, most recently for the department’s 2020 Virtual Bike Rodeo event.
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