The City of Ocala Water Resources Department was recently selected to receive a National Innovation in Conservation Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) for the Ocala Wetland Recharge Park.
The award will be presented during the 2021 NRPA Annual Conference in September.
Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts in the field of parks and recreation. This year, there are 12 categories in the NRPA program. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s committee and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including voluntary service, leadership and public outreach.
The NRPA Innovation Award recognizes and honors the latest advancements in the field of parks and recreation. These awards showcase the park and recreation agencies that have improved and empowered their communities through innovative practices in park design, health and wellness, conservation, and social equality.
The Ocala Wetland Recharge Park features educational kiosks, two and a half miles of walking trails and scenic boardwalks. The environmental landmark receives nearly three million gallons of treated wastewater and stormwater daily. The engineered ecological system of the park reduces nutrients and pollution in the water. The newly polished water gives water directly back to the aquifer. An additional benefit of the park is its outdoor recreation.
“We are honored to accept this award on behalf of the city, and the over 35,000 guests who have had the opportunity to visit our park since its opening less than a year ago,” said Sean Lanier, City of Ocala Engineer and Director of Water Resources. “The conservation area has created an environment where wildlife can thrive, and visitors can experience nature up close in a serene setting.”