Recognizing Innovation in Park Management and Practices
The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, sponsored by The Toro Company, recognizes innovation in park management and practices and is presented in partnership with City Parks Alliance. The award is announced ahead of the Greater & Greener international urban parks conference and is one of the ways that the conference creates a lasting impact on the parks and community.
2022 Award Winner: Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center
The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award recognizes innovation in park management and practices and comes with a $50,000 grant. This year’s winner, the Fairmount Park Organic Recycling Center, recycles an average of 6,000 tons of organic waste from Philadelphia’s urban forests into usable products and community building projects like the pool gardens featured here. The Toro Award grant will help to sustain collaborative youth-driven programs that support a circular economy in Philadelphia. Read more on our blog.
Previous Award Winners
2019 Toro Urban Park Innovation Award Winner: La Lomita Park, Denver, CO
The La Lomita Park project showcased a unique collaboration between Denver’s Parks and Recreation and Public Works agencies and served as a pilot effort for the City & County of Denver’s Green Infrastructure Implementation Strategy. The success of the project — both the collaborative approach to design and implementation as well as the multi-purpose performance of the park for stormwater management and recreational purposes — established a precedent for future multi-agency projects. The funds from the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award helped to transform the park into a learning lab by supporting environmental education through interpretive signage for the community and nearby schools.
Work continues at La Lomita Park in Denver, CO. Construction fencing remains around native plantings and other green infrastructure features. Photo credit: Denver Parks and Recreation.
2017 Toro Urban Park Innovation Award Winners
July 2017, Toro CEO Rick Olsen and Executive Director of City Parks Alliance Catherine Nagel present the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award to Michael Hahm, Director, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, and Jayne Miller, Superintendent, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
The winners of the first award in 2017, Parque Castillo in Saint Paul and Bossen Field Park in Minneapolis were chosen for the important roles they play in bringing their communities together through recreation and arts and for their ability to demonstrate excellence in park design and programming. Each park received $25,000, with the funds supporting specific projects that enhance larger park renovations.
“Parque Castillo and Bossen Field Park are excellent examples of how park leaders can design and program parks to meet the needs of today’s urban communities through the arts and recreation,” said City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel. “Greater & Greener is designed to have a positive impact on the host cities by featuring local examples through sessions, tours and mobile workshops. The Toro Park Innovation Award will help ensure that the communities near Parque Castillo and Bossen Field Park enjoy a lasting, tangible impact from Greater & Greener through improved local parks.”
Bossen Field Park
Bossen Field Park is located in a culturally diverse neighborhood in Minneapolis. Community outreach led by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) during the planning process suggested that many local needs were not currently being well served at Bossen Field and that a multi-use, flexible field was a priority for the community. The MPRB also recognized that the neighborhood had no other reasonably proximate parks available while renovation proceeded at Bossen Field Park. In response, a multi-use field was constructed as the first step in a larger renovation project. This field, supported by the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, was sodded and irrigated rather than seeded to provide a more immediate place for local residents to use.
August 2017, Toro’s Paula Sliefert joins Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Superintendent Jayne Miller and Commissioner Steffanie Musich, along with neighborhood leaders for the grand re-opening of Bossen Field Park. Photo courtesy of The Toro Company.
October 2018, 99-year-old Tomasa Castillo, widow of West Side activist Nicolas Castillo, cut the ribbon after a five-month renovation of Parque Castillo. The park includes a monument to Nicolas, a West Side musician and activist, new seating, and play areas for children. (Photo courtesy of the City of St. Paul).
Parque Castillo has recently been redesigned to make it more appealing and useful to the neighborhood, as the heart of the community. New amenities like a festival lawn and circular walk, refurbished play area and interactive water feature, have been chosen by the community and constructed in 2017. The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award supported perimeter seating around the circular lawn that serves as a canvas for Craig David, a local artist. The importance of the seating is that it shares the stories of the community and embeds the cultural context and history of the park into the park’s features. The murals will convey the significance of Nicolas Castillo, a community activist and namesake of the park, as well as other community members and events that have shaped the neighborhood. See coverage of the reopening of Parque Castillo in the Pioneer Press.
The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, sponsored by The Toro Company, recognizes innovation in park management and practices, and is presented in conjunction with City Parks Alliance and Greater & Greener.