The $8.5 million National Trail Parks and Recreation District Chiller project won the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association Governor’s Award at the annual Awards of Excellence ceremony last week in Sandusky.
The downtown ice arena project was selected out of three finalists for the award, which is a best-in-show of the 17 different award winners.
After 13 years of planning, the Chiller opened in 2013. The ice rink saw approximately 100,000 visitors in its first year of existence, according to Chiller management.
“This project has so many elements which represent the best of what our members do,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward in a press release. “It provides a new form of recreation and a destination recreation facility in a community where that was desperately needed while also utilizing partnerships in very innovative ways in order to bring the project to fruition.
“This facility is impacting lives throughout Clark County.”
The criteria for selection included impact on quality of life, innovation, need in the community and utilization by residents. The Chiller also received a proclamation from Gov. John Kasich and a $500 contribution.
The Chiller beat out an adaptive boating project in Lake County and the shared partnership between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Department.
The ice arena was the last piece of the 13-year capital campaign which also saw the construction of the Carleton-Davidson Stadium and the SplashZone Family Aquatic Center.
“It’s kind of like another celebration that that’s over,” Castillo said.
Castillo was also named the OPRA Professional of the Year, while the completion of the NTPRD Chiller project also won first place for capital improvement projects over $2.5 million.
All awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals throughout the state. The annual state conference was held last week at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky.