Metro Parks Tacoma earns industry accreditation

Metro Parks Tacoma officials announced the organization has received recognition for national accreditation at the National Recreation and Parks Association’s (NRPA) Best of the Best Ceremony in October honoring excellence in park system operations.

The Commission on Accreditation for Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) conveys accreditation after evaluating an agency’s overall quality of operation, management, and service to the community.

Metro Parks Tacoma is now one of 135 agencies nationwide, out of over 12,000 park and recreation systems, to earn this honor. Metro Parks Tacoma celebrated the achievement with the community at a reception held on Mon., Oct. 27, in Tacoma.

“I am proud of staff,” said Metro Parks Tacoma Board President Tim Reid. “This honor highlights the commitment to excellence we’ve held all along. It’s our citizen-driven approach that makes us the Best of the Best. CAPRA has just made it official.

“Meeting CAPRA standards helps assure citizens, policy makers, staff, and program participants that Metro Parks Tacoma is what it strives to be: an accountable agency that contributes to a sustainable and livable city,” added Reid.

According to Metro Parks Tacoma officials, the accreditation benefits the public by providing an assurance and validation of well-administered services in accord with approved professional practices; providing the potential for external financial support and savings to the public; providing external recognition of a quality governmental service; holding the organization accountable to the public and ensuring responsiveness to meet their needs; and improving customer and quality services.

The accreditation benefits the organization by providing public and political recognition; increasing efficiency and evidence of accountability; identifying areas for improvement by comparing the agency against national standards of best practices; sustaining staff training, education, and investment; enhancing staff teamwork and pride by engaging all staff in the process; creating an environment for regular reviews of operations, policies, and procedures; promoting continual improvement; and forcing written documentation of policies and procedures, according to Metro Parks Tacoma officials.

The CAPRA team concluded that Metro Parks Tacoma complies with 144 standards of best practices in the industry and determined that all standards were met or exceeded. The reviewers noted that Metro Parks Tacoma was one of the most organized agencies they had ever visited, and one of the few to achieve 100 percent compliance. The team observed that Metro Parks Tacoma’s strong base of policies, relationship with the local community and partners, and comprehensive planning was done to a degree almost unprecedented for first-time applicants.

In Washington State, Renton and Bellevue’s City Park Departments are the only two other agencies to receive accreditation. Currently, 27 agencies are seeking accreditation, according to Metro Parks Tacoma officials. Accreditation is valid for a period of five years.

More information is available online at