Wilmington’s Parks and Recreation Department Honored

In a remarkable testament to the City of Wilmington’s commitment to enhancing community life through exceptional recreational facilities and programs, Mayor Mike Purzycki, alongside Director of Parks and Recreation Ian Smith, recently announced a double triumph. The Delaware Recreation & Parks Society (DRPS) awarded the City’s Parks and Recreation Department the prestigious “Outstanding Organization Award” for 2023, marking the department’s first-ever receipt of this accolade. Additionally, the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center was named the “2023 Gym of the Year” by the Mid-Atlantic Association of USA Boxing, showcasing the city’s dedication to fostering excellence in local sports and recreation.

The “Outstanding Organization Award” from the DRPS is no small feat. This honor is annually bestowed upon one organization that exemplifies outstanding field programming work, shining a light on the significant impact that dedicated recreational programming can have on community engagement and well-being. The award, a reflection of the City of Wilmington’s innovative and inclusive programming, underscores the Parks and Recreation Department’s success in bringing communities together and enhancing the quality of life for all residents. The DRPS, an affiliate of the National Recreation and Park Association, plays a crucial role in connecting those involved in recreational and parks activities across Delaware, making this recognition even more significant.

Director Smith (center, back), Deputy Director Phillips (5th from left, front), and Parks and Recreation staff celebrate receiving the Delaware Recreation & Parks Society’s “Outstanding Organization Award” for 2023.

Not to be overshadowed, the accolade of “2023 Gym of the Year” from the Mid-Atlantic Association of USA Boxing places the William “Hicks” Anderson Community Center in a league of its own among more than 75 gyms across the region. This award highlights the gym’s active participation in shows and competitions, the breadth of its boxing programs across different age and weight classes, and the commendable character of its coaches who adhere to USA Boxing’s code of ethics. The recognition follows a nearly $4 million renovation of the center, completed by the Purzycki administration in 2019, which marked the facility’s first comprehensive refurbishment in years and solidified its role as a pivotal community resource during challenging times.

“It’s an honor to lead a department that has been recognized for our commitment to the youth who use our parks and facilities every day,” said Director Smith. “These awards are a reflection of our dedication to the community, and our commitment towards excellence.” From revitalizing the “Hicks” Anderson Center to upgrading playgrounds and splash parks, Wilmington demonstrates a holistic approach to community development and engagement.

As Wilmington revels in these accolades, the city’s leadership remains focused on building upon their success, with a keen eye towards further enriching the lives of its residents through recreational opportunities. These awards are not just a recognition of past achievements but a catalyst for future endeavors, promising continued excellence in Wilmington’s parks and recreational facilities. The City of Wilmington’s story of recognition in 2023 serves as a beacon for other cities to follow, illustrating the profound impact of dedicated public service and community-focused programming on the well-being of a community.

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