Orlando Grand Avenue Park Marks 10th NRPA Parks Build Community Project

(January 23, 2020)

Significant renovations in store for park as part of the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference

Ashburn, Va. (Jan. 23, 2020) — The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department are proud to announce that Grand Avenue Park has been chosen for the 10th NRPA Parks Build Community project. Portions of the park will undergo significant renovations as corporate donors and local companies come together to transform the area into a vibrant public space where residents of all ages can gather and play. The park renovations will be unveiled during the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

“NRPA is thrilled to announce its tenth Parks Build Community project,” said Kristine Stratton, NRPA President and CEO. “Over the years, we’ve had the distinct privilege of working with donors and park leaders from local agencies in cities where we host our annual conference to bring these amazing park transformations to life. These projects demonstrate our commitment to ensure every person in every community has access to quality park and recreation amenities that boost quality of life and strengthen communities.”     

The 12-acre parcel surrounding an architecturally significant and historic schoolhouse, built in 1926, creates the perfect landscape for Grand Avenue Park. This park was selected for the 10th NRPA Parks Build Community project because it is at the center of a neighborhood in need of a renovated public space to serve the community. In addition, the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department is planning multiple recreation enhancements and programs, including the renovation of the adjacent community center, making the overall project a community jewel.

Lisa Early, City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Director said, “Playgrounds are such an integral part of childhood. I'll never forget the wonderful experiences I was lucky to enjoy, swinging on swings and sliding down slides, when I was a child. Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Grand Avenue Park feel the same way, and they're thrilled to know that their beloved and historic park and its playgrounds are being renovated, and that now their own children will be able to build beloved memories there. I'm deeply grateful to the National Recreation and Park Association for supporting the Grand Avenue Park renovation, and I know the residents of this great neighborhood are grateful too.”

In 1938, the Grand Avenue site was selected as one of four new summer playgrounds with activities supervised by the city's then Recreation Department in partnership with the PTAs in the area. The purpose was to promote recreation for children, and it did for many years. Decades later, the school was slated for demolition, but was spared by the swift actions of the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department leaders. In 2017, the school closed, and the parks and recreation department dedicated a two-year build-out to turn the structure into a vibrant community center.

NRPA, along with the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department, is proud to work alongside a growing group of generous donors that will contribute to the project, which is slated to begin during the spring. These donors include:       

NRPA’s Parks Build Community is a national initiative aimed at demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities across America. Living close to parks and other recreation facilities is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth. Parks help reduce obesity and the incidence of chronic disease by providing opportunities to increase rigorous physical activity in a variety of forms. Furthermore, parks provide a connection to nature, which studies demonstrate relieves stress levels, tightens interpersonal relationships and improves mental health. To learn more about the role of parks and recreation on health and wellness, click here.

To learn more about Parks Build Community, click here and follow the hashtag #ParksBuildCommunity.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

About the City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation Department
The mission of the Families, Parks and Recreation Department is to support and strengthen livable neighborhoods through the provision of well-maintained and inviting parks and a healthy tree canopy; high quality recreational, cultural and educational facilities; and comprehensive, innovative children’s programs. For more information, visit www.orlando.gov/Our-Government/Departments-Offices/FPR.