The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), announced the City of Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Department as a finalist for the 2019 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC has been a proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program for over 10 years.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. 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 seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd numbered years.

Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities is a finalist in the Class I (population 400,001 and over) category. Mesa joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year. The other finalists are from Chicago; Baton Rouge and Fairfax County, Virginia.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials.

“Being named a finalist with other outstanding agencies from across the country is quite an honor and a tribute to our dedicated staff who work hard to provide top notch facilities and programs for our residents,” Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Director Marc Heirshberg said. “It also recognizes City management and our elected leaders who provide us the vision and support we need to carry out our mission.”

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels. The City of Mesa was a Gold Medal finalist in 2014 and 2015 and won the Gold Medal in 1978, 1992 and 2000.

This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland Sept. 24–26.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit or