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Mobile’s parks, public works departments earn national accreditations



The City of Mobile has added two more prestigious accreditations from national professional organizations — becoming only the second city in the United States with a CAPRA-accredited Parks and Recreation Department, an APWA-accredited Public Works Department, a CALEA-accredited Police Department, and a CFAI-accredited and ISO-1 rated Fire and Rescue Department. 


In October of 2023, the Mobile Parks and Recreation Department (MPRD) was accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) for the first time. Of more than 10,000 parks and recreation agencies across the U.S., just 206 have achieved CAPRA accreditation, and MPRD is only the second agency to receive this designation in the State of Alabama.  


CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for parks and recreation agencies and speaks to MPRD’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. To join the ranks of the most elite agencies, MPRD had to soundly demonstrate that it meets or exceeds the national best practices for managing public spaces, facilities, programs, and services. MPRD proved that it meets these standards with a commitment to safety, equity, and public involvement.  


“This is a monumental achievement that reflects the quality of the services, programs, events, and facilities that MPRD and its entire staff provide for Mobilians every day,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “Achieving CAPRA accreditation has been a multi-year endeavor led by former MPRD Director Shonnda Smith and current Director Kim Carmody. This team effort required hard work, attention to detail, and buy-in from MPRD’s entire staff and the city departments that help support its operations.”  


Last fall, the City of Mobile’s Public Works Department also became the first agency in the State of Alabama to earn accreditation from the American Public Works Association (APWA). There are more than 23,000 municipalities in the United States and Canada with some type of public works operation, and Mobile’s Public Works Department is now one of only 197 accredited by the APWA.  


Under the leadership of Executive Director of Public Works James DeLapp, the department has spent years working toward this incredible achievement. The accreditation process includes a rigorous self-assessment, an improvement phase, and a thorough review by APWA. The team successfully satisfied all 413 applicable standards and earned the distinction of “Model Practice” for its Strategic Plan.  


Public Works manages 2,126 acres of parkland, 531 buildings and structures, over 1,000 miles of roadways, 750 miles of sidewalks, and 134 bridges. That’s in addition to providing vital services like sanitation, permitting, and inspections. 


“Our Public Works Department touches the lives of Mobilians daily,” Stimpson said. “To manage their tasks at any level is laudable, but a city our size ranking among the best of the best is a testament to our team’s hard work and commitment to excellence. The men and women of our Public Works Department deserve this recognition, and I hope all Mobilians are as proud as I am.” 

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