WESTCHESTER COUNTY PARKS COMMISSIONER KATHY O’CONNOR RECEIVES OUTSTANDING OFFICIAL AWARD FROM NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY PARK AND RECREATION ASSOCIATION (NACPRO)
The National Association of County Park and Recreation Association (NACPRO) has presented Westchester County Parks Commissioner Kathy O’Connor with her 2021 Outstanding Public Servant Award.
This award is presented to an appointed, elected or appointed federal, state or local official, including commissioners or board members, who have made a significant contribution to the benefit of NACPRO member agencies and demonstrated ” exemplary leadership in the field of parks and recreation.
Over the past year, O’Connor’s leadership has not only benefited the park system, but the Westchester County community as well. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Connor worked with local and state officials to transform the Westchester County Center and Glen Island respectively into a field hospital and one of the first driving test sites of the country. At the same time, she began to respond to the community’s need for mourning and, together with the Westchester County administration, developed a memorial dedicated to COVID-19 victims, “Ribbons of Remembrance,” located at Lenoir Preserve. in Yonkers and built by park workers.
During this time, the need for recreational outlets became increasingly essential and O’Connor mobilized staff and responded to the demand. She and the staff have worked hard to keep the summer months as normal as possible by opening the pools and beaches and summer camps for children to be safe. Working with the Recreation Department, O’Connor reworked the popular Screenings Under the Stars program into a cinematic drive-thru experience and Bicycle Sundays was extended until early fall. In winter, she worked closely with the Westchester Parks Foundation to reinvent Westchester County’s tradition of Westchester’s Winter Wonderland as a driving light show at Kensico Dam Plaza.
Westchester County Director George Latimer said: “Commissioner O’Connor has done an outstanding job during the pandemic leading his staff through the unpredictable and keeping parks and recreation areas open and safe for residents of Westchester. This award is well deserved and I am proud of his hard work, dedication and commitment to our beautiful county park system.
The virtual awards presentation, produced by Metro Parks in Nashville, can be viewed here.