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Children play at Holiday Park in Carlsbad, one of the cornerstones of the city after its Parks and Recreation Department earned the Commission for Accreditation for Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation last month. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad’s Parks & Rec earns prestigious accreditation

CARLSBAD — After a yearlong process, the Carlsbad Parks and Recreation Department is officially one of the best.

The department earned the prestigious Commission for Accreditation for Parks and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation in September and was celebrated by the City Council during their Oct. 7 meeting.

Parks Director Chris Hazeltine said his staff met and exceeded 151 standards set by the national association. In addition, a trio of federal auditors came to Carlsbad for physical inspections of their application, which Parks and Rec passed with flying colors.

“They’ve developed a bunch of standards and criteria for agencies to pursue to become accredited,” Hazeltine said. “It was a large internal review and assessment.”

The certification is for five years and highlights the department as one of the country’s best.

Hazeltine said there are more than 6,000 entities eligible to apply for the accreditation, but only 145, including Carlsbad, have attained. Also, Carlsbad is just one of five departments in the state to earn the designation.

“It means we are the best of the best in terms of practices,” Hazeltine said. “It means we are doing right by the citizens of Carlsbad. It means we are smart about how we use our resources and it means we are appropriately resourced.”

He added the designation would not have been possibly without the City Council, which values a vibrant Parks and Rec Department.

As for the standards, Hazeltine said his group was graded on such practices as safety, evacuation plans, collaborations with the police and fire departments and planning and risk management polices, to name a few.

“A lot of these things have citywide implications … so we have the best practices in place to be the best department,” Hazeltine said.

Going forward, the director said his department must provide yearly updates to CAPRA, which allows the staff to stay on top of progress and identify any issues.

“It keeps us thinking about these things,” Hazeltine said. “It keeps best practices in our minds as we go through our daily service providing and how we manage ourselves on a daily basis.”