New Orleans Recreation And Development Commission Receives National Accreditation
Mayor Mitch Landrieu celebrates Sunday’s Lemann Playground dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony.
NEW ORLEANS – The City of New Orleans announced that the New Orleans Recreation and Development (NORD) Commission earned national accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Less than one percent of recreation agencies in the United States receive this honor.
“When I took office in 2010, I made it my mission to create a state-of-the-art recreation department that serves all New Orleanians,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Since 2010, we’ve more than tripled the amount of funding for NORD and invested over $150 million in creating state-of-the-art NORD facilities. Receiving this accreditation is a clear sign that our hard work and investments have paid off. Vic Richard and his team have worked tirelessly to turn our recreation department around. I commend them for their hard work and dedication to creating a world-class recreation department for our city.”
The evaluation by CAPRA is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies. In the accreditation process, CAPRA measures an agency’s business practices, which include facilities, management, staff development, and benefit to the community. Agencies applying to CAPRA must meet 151 benchmarks of quality. Achieving national accreditation signifies that the agency has implemented and uses national best practices, from programming to community engagement and business operations. Accreditation heightens and focuses on areas of accountability, which translates to higher quality of service, productivity and experiences provided to the community.
"Achieving national accreditation was a commitment that we made in 2012 to ourselves and the citizens of the City of New Orleans,” said Vic Richard, CEO of NORD Commission. “This work anchors business continuity and is a testament of the outstanding members of our NORD team. The last five years have been transformative for our organization and our city."
Achieving national accreditation was a three-year undertaking that required NORD leaders and staff to conduct an extensive self-assessment and demonstrate best practices in all aspects, city reps said. A committee of experienced park and recreation professionals evaluated the NORD system in a site visit earlier this year. Agencies must be re-accredited every five years.
Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO said, “I congratulate NORD on earning this esteemed designation. This accomplishment demonstrates the department’s commitment to providing quality park and recreation services, and opportunities to the residents of New Orleans.”
Dianne Hoover, CAPRA Board appointed site visit lead, said, "NORD is to be commended for achieving accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Administration from the National Recreation and Park Association. The staff worked hard to complete all 151 standards in order to achieve this goal. Director Richard took a leap into the process while rebuilding parks and community centers, which was a large undertaking. The department now has solid procedures, plans and policies in place to better serve the community."
Louis V. Lauricella, NORD Foundation chair, said “The NORD Foundation Board of Directors congratulates the NORD Commission for achieving accreditation, the culmination of our arduous journey from post-Katrina dysfunction. We are proud to have played a supporting role in reaching this auspicious moment. We thank Chevron for its lead partnership, including underwriting the Boston Consulting Group strategic plan that identified NRPA accreditation as NORD's primary five-year goal. We thank two more major program sponsors, Entergy and Boh Bros., for early, generous and consistent support. We also thank our Board members for giving and raising millions of dollars over the past six years to support NORD's drive to excellence."
Byron C. Williams, NORD Commission chair said, “This is a historic event in the history of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission. Achieving accreditation is a result of the hard work of the staff and volunteers."
Jason Williams, councilmember-at-Large said, “Recreation and community programming are absolutely crucial to building healthy and safe cities. I am proud to have watched NORD grow over my years on the City Council and this national accreditation is a well-deserved honor for our recreation department.”
Nadine Ramsey, District C councilmember said, “NORDC's accreditation by CAPRA is one more indication of the city's progress in and commitment to providing services for our youth. I have worked diligently with the administration to expand services for young people in the City of New Orleans. It is very gratifying that these efforts are being recognized.”
James Gray, District E councilmember and NORD commissioner said, “It’s great to see NORD recognized for the world-class program it is. I am proud to serve on the NORD Commission. I am confident that we will continue to develop a recreation department that provides access to exceptional programming for all New Orleanians.”