Lindsay Wright, executive director of Alabama Recreation and Parks Association, said the annual awards are given based on criteria such as the programs offered, the design of the facility, community involvement and dedication to the community. An awards committee reviewed the nomination forms and selected the winners in December.
Wright said Wednesday Anniston’s aquatic center was chosen based on the amount of renovation done on the structure that already existed on the site — the Army's old Miller Gym — and what it added to the community.
“They were able to preserve some of the history along with adding the indoor pool,” she said.
The center opened in April last year.
Wright added that the department was chosen based on the size of the staff and the number of programs the department offered to the community. She was also impressed with the department’s commitment to education.
“They believe in training and education,” Wright said, noting that the department has as many people in the department certified in their fields as possible.
The Anniston department has 50 full-time employees, 70 temporary employees and one part-time employee. The staff manages 24 parks covering 208 acres, two municipal golf courses, two outdoor pools, a splash park, the aquatic and fitness center, youth sports complex at McClellan and four community centers, according to the award submission forms.
The department also manages the City Meeting Center, which is used for seminars, trade shows, conferences and other special events.
Steven Folks, director of the department, said receiving the award last week was an honor.
“It’s always nice to be recognized by your peers,” he said Wednesday.
Mayor Vaughn Stewart announced the awards at the City Council meeting on Tuesday.
“It’s quite an honor for the city of Anniston,” Stewart said.
Millie Harris echoed Stewart’s comments.
“I commend Steven Folks for a great, great job,” Harris said.
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.