VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation (VBPR) was selected as a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA).

VBPR is a finalist in the Class I category for cities with populations of 400,000-plus. They are judged on their ability to address the needs of their community members, staff members and elected officials.

“Being selected as a finalist among the nation’s top park agencies two years in a row is such an honor,” said VBPR Director Michael Kirschman. “It’s truly a testament to not only the dedication of our staff, but also a history of support from our residents and city leadership to make parks and recreation a priority. They are an investment in the communities’ social, mental, and physical health, and improve our quality of life here in Virginia Beach.”

Listed below are the other finalists:

  • The Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge (BREC) — East Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, —Tampa, Florida
  • Johnson County Parks & Recreation District, — Shawnee Mission, Kansas

The final phase of judging will happen this summer. Winners will be announced during the 2022 NRPA Conference from Sept.20-22 in Phoenix, Arizona.

For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit