Montgomery County council members Andrew Friedson and Gabe Albornoz began the June 11 meeting with a proclamation acknowledging the work that parks and recreation have accomplished this year.
“I circle this date on the calendar every year because it’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge the incredibly dedicated and professional staff of both departments, ” said council member-at-large Albornoz.
Council vice president Friedson said the recognition has taken new meaning during and after the pandemic.
“We have relied on our parks and on our recreation department to provide wellness, community, and health needs,” said Friedson.
Directors from both Montgomery County Parks and Department of Recreation chose employees in the organization and highlighted the work that they provide for them.
Every two years, residents fill out a survey of the services in the county that they appreciate and like the most. Both departments come out in the top three each time the survey is done.
“This is kind of the Super Bowl season, the summer season for our friends at the recreation center,” said Friedson.
Albornoz talked about how staff members were at the Germantown Fourth of July event until 2 a.m. making sure people got home safely and got to their cars.
The recreation department shared a video detailing the work that its employees provide for Montgomery County residents.
“Our team works extremely hard and is relatively a small team, we have about 2,500 seasonal workers from lifeguards, out of school time, to senior programs you name it they do it, ” said Robin Riley, who serves as the director of recreation for Montgomery County Recreation.
Members of the recreation department who were acknowledged worked in different sectors such as high school, elementary, seniors and camp directors.
“They are the fuel in our engine and the grease on our wheels,” said Riley.
Montgomery County Recreation has many programs to offer for residents to participate in.
Montgomery County Park Director Michael F. Riley said the eight year plan that was developed called “The Big Three.” This plan focuses on developing a world class public athletic field at parks and schools, destination trail network and park activation that focuses on bringing community members of diverse backgrounds together.
“Historically we have built beautiful parks with beautiful facilities,” said Riley. Montgomery County Parks has over 420 parks across 37,220 acres,102 campsites, 136 picnic areas and 276 playgrounds. At the parks visitors can find nature centers, ice skating rinks, boat rentals, public gardens and miniature trains.
The parks council has grown to a five-member team. They do events year round and some members do events every night. Riley recognized each member of his team at the council meeting.
Riley closed his speech with some numbers on how well the parks department has brought the community together. The department had their first Spanish speaking comedy show at Flower Avenue Urban Park with 90 people in attendance.
The number of residents attending the events provided by the parks has reached the hundreds and thousands.
Council member Friedson thanked both departments and their staff for coming to the council meeting. He concluded the session by discussing the department’s dedication and the contributions to the county.
The Montgomery County council proclaimed the month of July as National Parks and Recreation Month.
“The council encourages all community members to get out and enjoy the award winning medley of trails, parks, sports leagues and summer programs,” said Friedson.
The departments were presented with the proclamation that was signed by council members Friedson, Albornoz, and Evan Glass.