October 14, 2020
Friday, August 29, 2014
ORLANDO – Lee County Parks & Recreation and City of Pensacola Neighborhood Services earned the inaugural Florida Recreation and Park Association (FRPA) Excellence in Sports Tourism Awards, presented by the Florida Sports Foundation, and awarded Thursday at the annual FRPA Conference in Orlando.
The awards, broken into Mid-Large Sport Market and Small Sport Market Categories, recognize the unparalleled contributions of Florida’s county and municipal Parks & Recreation Departments to Sport Tourism. County and municipal governments provide the maintenance and infrastructure to support the numerous sporting and recreational activities occurring annually throughout the state of Florida. Recipients were nominated by Florida’s Regional Sports Commissions, defined as the Mid to Large Sport Market and the Small Sport Market.
“We are proud to stand in partnership with the Florida Recreation and Park Association to present the 1st Excellence in Sport Tourism Award,” said Florida Sports Foundation President, John Webb. “This award program was developed to recognize department contributions to the Sport Tourism efforts of their community. “
The Mid – Large Sport Market category awardee, Lee County Parks & Recreation, nominated by Lee County Sports Development, has been an integral partner in the growth of Sport Tourism in the area by over 450% . The philosophy of Lee County Parks & Recreation is one of customer service excellence. Each employee that interacting with sports tourists attends a customer service training program offered by the Lee County CVB, called “Guest First”.
In 2013, Lee County Parks & Recreation facilities hosted over 80 events, attracting almost 130,000 visitors and generating an estimated $52.4 million direct economic impact for the community. In addition, the department manages and maintains the Spring Training homes of both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Spring Training in Lee County on average generates nearly $48 million in direct tourist expenditures annually.
The Small Sport Market award winner is City of Pensacola Neighborhood Services, rose to the occasion in April 2014, when the area experienced the heaviest rains in 130 years, more than 2 feet falling in 26 hours. The result was catastrophic. Major roads were washed out, widespread power outages, homes were washed away and many City parks and facilities were destroyed.
In just 48 hours after the rain, Pensacola was scheduled to host the 2014 FCSAA State Softball Championships at Exchange Park. The City of Pensacola staff made it a priority to restore the fields to normal playing conditions so Exchange Park was ready for the tournament. With only a one day delay, the tournament went off without a hitch due to the commitment of City of Pensacola Neighborhood Services. Since October of 2013, events at City of Pensacola parks facilities contributed over $2.5 million estimated direct economic impact to the community.