CHARLOTTE, NC – The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) USA named The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) runner-up for the IAP2 USA Core Values Award for Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture. IAP2 USA recognized PARD for ensuring the community had a proper voice in the development of the Dr. Everett H. Givens District Park Master Plan. The award was presented at the IAP2 North American Conference in Charlotte, NC.
The IAP2 Core Values Awards recognize achievements in the field of public engagement, ensuring that people affected by a decision are given the opportunity to provide input and know how their input was used.
Givens Park is in an area with a significant African American population, but many residents have been displaced recently by the economic impacts of gentrification. Nonetheless, the district park has remained a social focal point for Texas African Americans living outside the traditional two-mile radius reach of district parks.
In 2012, the park was selected for improvements under a General Obligation Bond. To engage with the community, PARD collaborated with community leaders and park users to ensure all voices had a chance to be heard. PARD also used methods from IAP2 to gather input and set priorities, including a public forum, World Café and informal advisory group.
The result is a district park master plan that responded to a recurring theme from residents: “We like our park the way it is.” The final design emphasizes Givens District Park as it has been and allows for adjustments to maximize its traditional uses.
IAP2 judges were impressed by the Givens District Park Master Plan, which spoke to the hearts of the users. Judges also appreciated the way PARD adapted its engagement practices to reach as many people as possible.
“We are deeply honored by IAP2’s acknowledgement and accept this award on behalf of the residents who helped make the Givens District Park Master Plan possible,” says John Nixon, Austin PARD’s Communications and Engagement Manager. “The community earned this award by championing this project and making their vision a reality. Austin Parks and Recreation is thankful for the opportunity to facilitate this project.”
More information about the IAP2 USA Core Values Awards can be found at www.iap2usa.org/cva.
About the International Association for Public Participation
The IAP2 supports the concept that people affected by a decision have a right to give input on the decision and to know how that input influenced the decision. Members include practitioners trained in facilitating proper P2 processes, as well as decision-makers, academics and others interested in the practice. The designation CP3 (Certified Public Participation Practitioner) is recognized internationally as indicating a practitioner meets a set of rigorous standards. The annual Core Values Awards are presented to organizations – public- and private-sector – that demonstrate excellence in the field of public engagement.
Receiving the award at the IAP2 North American Conference. Left to right: Gregory Montes, PARD, Gwen Howard, IAP2 Board, Tina Geiselbrecht, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Justin Schneider, PARD
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