Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism 1st agency to receive national accreditation in Alabama 

Facilities like the Connected Playground at Ingle Park help CP&R, in CAPRA’s words, to “address barriers that may limit access.” (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism (CP&R) Monday night announced that it has received a prestigious accreditation through the National Recreation and Park Association’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA). According to CAPRA’s website, CP&R is one of only 178 parks and recreation agencies across the country to hold this accreditation, and the first and only accredited system in the state of Alabama. 

CP&R said in a statement: The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) provides quality assurance and quality improvement of accredited park and recreation agencies throughout the United States by providing agencies with a management system of best practices. Agencies that achieve national accreditation exhibit a high mark of excellence in the areas of planning, organizational structure, financial management, risk management, public safety, conservation, human resources, research, and program management all while providing quality parks and facilities that meet the community needs. 

To qualify for CAPRA accreditation, CP&R had to meet standards in numerous areas, including, among others: 

  • mission

  • agency goals and objectives

  • vision

  • policies and procedures

  • development of a system master plan and involvement in community strategic planning

  • relationships to other agencies and to the community

  • establishing policies for public sharing of information

  • personnel policies and procedures

  • code of ethics

  • promoting equal employment opportunities and workplace diversity

  • clearly established fiscal policy and management procedures

  • comprehensive accounting system including independent audits

  • outreach to diverse populations

  • codes and ordinances for safety and law enforcement

  • comprehensive risk management plan

  • systematic evaluation processes


According to the agency, “Through a process of peer verification of compliance with these national standards, CAPRA accreditation assures policy makers, department staff, and the general public that an accredited park and recreation agency has the operational capacity to deliver programs, facilities, and services at a high level of quality.”

CP&R Executive Director Nathan Anderson said, “We started this incredible but challenging journey four years ago. Going through the accreditation has elevated our organization in so many ways. To be named the first in the state is a great accomplishment for our team and community. We are now amongst an elite few in the country.

“This process has made us more mindful in handling the entrusted resources of our community. Using the data and insight gathered from the patrons of our parks and facilities, we have grown more intentional with the development of parks, facilities and programs.

“We have so many people to credit for this great accomplishment— first on the list is the incredible team at Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism. Also, this wouldn’t have been possible without the unwavering support we have received from our board, council, mayor and our community. Without the community, none of this would have any meaning. We are truly blessed to live and work in Cullman.”

The National Recreation and Park Association describes itself as “the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation. Our work draws national focus to the far-reaching impact of successes generated at the local level. Leveraging their role in conservation, health and wellness, and social equity to improve their communities NRPA’s members of park and recreation professionals and advocates are 60,000 strong and represent public spaces in urban communities, rural settings and everything in between.”

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Cullman stands alone in CAPRA’s Alabama listings.

W.C. Mann