The City of North Port Parks and Recreation Department has been selected as a finalist in the 2024 National Gold Medal Award Program for excellence in park and recreation management by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration. The Department is a finalist in Class III (population 75,001–150,000).

“We are extremely proud and honored to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award,” said Director Sandy Pfundheller. “This remarkable accomplishment is especially significant for our team as it is unusual for first-time applicants to achieve finalist status. It speaks volumes about the hard work and dedication our team demonstrates in their work and their daily service to the community.”

The Department collaborated with the City’s Communications team to create a 5-minute video that will be part of the final phase of the award process. It has been submitted to a panel of park and recreation professionals for judging. This year’s finalists will compete for the Grand Plaque Award honor and will be announced at the 2024 NRPA Annual Conference in Atlanta in October.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.

For more information about North Port’s program, visit