Celebrating 65 years with Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation!
Since July 1985, the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has been celebrating National Park and Recreation Month. July is the month dedicated to memorable outdoor experiences for all Americans. As we celebrate this month, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation also celebrates their 65th anniversary. Through this initiative, this department has planned and created a multitude of opportunities to enjoy open space, enhance character of different areas within the city and the quality of life for people and wildlife and finally, recreation and fun!
Mission: Exceed community expectations in an inclusive, innovative, and sustainable manner.
Vision: To be the national leader in providing enriching and memorable lifelong experiences.
- Protect the Environment
- Promote Healthy Lifestyles
- Provide Community Access
- Ensure the Stewardship of Funds, Facilities, and Public Lands
In 1956, the Princess Anne County Board of Supervisors founded the Recreation Department. Two years later, the Recreation Department established their first program, “The Summer Playgrounds.” Then beginning in 1963, Princess Anne County officially became the City of Virginia Beach (CVB), and they changed the division name to Department of Parks, Recreation, and Physical Education. The department began to get increased capital improvement funding so they could acquire future sites. CVB Parks and Recreation then started the “After-School Playground” Program and lifeguarding at Steel Pier Surfing Area. The City’s first public park then opened in 1966. Red Wing Park, the first of its kind in CVB, is still a public park to this day. After ten years of bearing its new name, the department dropped the ‘Physical Education’ part of the name as it was transferred to the School Board’s discretion. Shortly after the renaming, Mount Trashmore opened up as the first park in the nation to be built on top of a landfill. In 1987, Virginia Beach citizens voted for dedicated taxes that would go towards community recreation centers and now have expanded to seven different centers.
Today, there are 293 parks in the department, with over 7,000 acres of natural areas, a plethora of playgrounds, marinas, an athletic complex, three skate parks, recreation facilities, and five dog parks.
City of Virginia Beach’s Department of Parks and Recreation is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). The department is currently an award finalist (the winners will be announced in September) for the 2021 National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal. This award honors excellence in parks and recreation throughout the country through many different metrics. Below, is their submission video.
WPL has worked with the CVB Department of Parks and Recreation for nearly their entire existence, whether through surveying, civil engineering, landscape architecture, or any combination of our services.
Some of our most notable are:
– Mount Trashmore
– Pleasure House Point Master Plan
– Woodstock Park
– Northend Hurricane Dune Crossovers
– Beach Garden Park
– Bow Creek Recreation Center
– JT’s Grommet Island Park for EveryBODY (first wheelchair accessible park on the beach in the country!)
– Williams Farm Park and Recreation Center
– Kempsville Community Center
– City Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment
The City of Virginia Beach’s Park and Recreation Department put together a guide of 65 Things to Do. We are checking off items on this list left and right, are you?