Riverside Parks & Recreation Receives Two Awards of Excellence

The City of Riverside, Parks Recreation & Community Services Department (PRCSD) received two Awards of Excellence from the California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) this week at the 2013 California and Pacific Southwest Recreation and Park Training Conference in San Jose, CA.

DalesSrCenterRiverside is recognized for the Facility Design of Dales Senior Center Renovation Project in the category of Community Centers/Mixed Use Facilities and for the 2012 Mariachi Festival in the category of Marketing and Communications – Marketing Campaign.

According to Ralph Nunez, Riverside PRCSD Director, “The CPRS awards program is the highest recognition our agency can receive and our award is a credit to the Council, staff, TR Design Group and volunteers that made this happen. We are honored to receive this award on behalf of our residents.”

The City of Riverside, Dales Senior Center Expansion Project embodies the CPRS “Parks Make Life Better!” campaign.  The new 10,500 SF space is a place for the community to gather, exercise, interact with nature, learn new skills and make new connections.

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey said, “The new Dales Senior Center space and programs should inspire seniors to take advantage of our state of the art facilities and become more ‘Fit Fresh & Fun‘.”

The marketing campaign award recognized Riverside’s promotion of the Riverside Mariachi Festival — noting Riverside’s promotional materials and the partnerships with community groups, other agencies and businesses.

CPRS Executive Director Jane H. Adams states, “These agencies represent the finest in recreation programming and community wide initiatives, park planning, facility design, and marketing and communications in California. Park and recreation agencies throughout the state provide families, individuals, and groups access to the serenity and inspiration of nature; spaces and places for play and exercise; opportunities for directed and self-directed recreation; positive alternatives for youth to reduce crime and mischief; and activities that facilitate social connections, human development, therapy, the arts, and lifelong learning. CPRS and the award sponsors, Rain Bird, Little Tikes Commercial Play Systems, and RJM Design Group, Inc., are proud to recognize the excellent parks, recreation programs, services and facilities provided to Californians.”

The California Park & Recreation Society presented awards in 5 categories:

  • Creating Community Award of Excellence
  • Excellence in Design – Park Planning
  • Excellence in Design – Facility Design
  • Marketing & Communications Award of Excellence
  • Professional & Service 

The two recognitions further demonstrate Riverside’s commitment to increasing the quality of life for all residents through recreation, gathering, health and fitness facilities and programs.

Eastside Garden Gives Riverside Students Hands-On Learning Experience

The Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School is a shining example of Riverside’s unified spirit working together for the common good of the city as a whole.

On February 23, the Press-Enterprise published a story written by correspondent Kevin Keckeisen about the collaborative effort between Riverside Parks and Recreation Department and Riverside Unified School District. The garden is part of the school district’s Farmers Market Salad Bar program.  The following is an excerpt from the story:

First-grader Kalia Cook, 6, inspects lettuce plants with the rest of her class at the Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School in Riverside. (photo by Kevin Keickerson; source: PE.com)

First-grader Kalia Cook, 6, inspects lettuce plants with the rest of her class at the Eastside Community Garden at Emerson Elementary School in Riverside. (photo by Kevin Keckeison; source: PE.com)

Nearly two dozen different crops such as squash, tomatoes, eggplants, lettuce and onions are grown. The produce provides students nutrition at the school salad bar, and some is sent to RUSD Nutrition Services to be centrally prepared and distributed to other schools in the city.

“Kids don’t have the foggiest idea where this stuff comes from. It comes from the grocery store as far as they’re concerned,” said Tony Inaba, caretaker of the garden and Riverside parks commissioner.

Students do most of the planning and weeding, and they observe. They work on the garden once every other week, and so do students with disabilities from North High School. It’s a learning process and part of their curriculum, Inaba said.

The community also has access to the garden.  According to the Eastside Community Garden Facebook page, this is the city’s oldest community garden and has been in existence since approximately 1980. In 2004, Emerson Elementary and the City of Riverside Parks and Recreation Services Department joined forces.  Since then, the operation has won national attention for it’s ‘garden to salad bar’ participation by the Emerson Elementary students five years in a row.

Click here to read the full story as published in the Press-Enterprise.

For more information on the garden, visit the group’s Facebook page.