Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services
Dr. Joshua Medeiros, Superintendent
It is the mission of the Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department to deliver high-quality services and facilities that enhance the community’s quality of life and meets the diverse needs of all citizens. The department’s vision is to be an essential department impacting the lives of all Bristol residents by shaping positive public perceptions, fostering cultural unity, creating responsible citizens, and inspiring advocacy.
In order to administer the best quality services in the most efficient way, the department is organized into five operational divisions including: Administration; Parks, Grounds, and Facilities Maintenance; Recreation; Aquatics; and Youth and Community Services. The professional staff consists of 31 full-time employees and more than 300 part-time and seasonal employees. Policy is set by a 7 member Board of Park Commissioners and an 11 member Youth Commission.
Administration is responsible for developing a fiscally responsible department budget that meets the changing and dynamic needs of the community. Administration provides stewardship to the many benefactors of the Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department which include 8 trust and endowment funds, as well as, the Friends of Bristol Parks and Recreation Fund through the Main Street Community Foundation. The division is also responsible for over $500,000 of youth services grants including the Drug Free Communities Program and BEST Prevention Coalition. The division interfaces and coordinates with dozens of non-profits, sports organizations, and civic groups that utilize park space for events including the Mums Festival, West End Association Summer Festival, and Veterans organizations - drawing thousands of visitors into the city each year. Administration provides support to all department divisions, manages the department master/strategic plans, organizes and creates policy in alignment with the pursuit of CAPRA (Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies) accreditation, establishes fundraising events, pursues new funding sources and provides direct project management for park projects.
Parks, Grounds, and Facilities Maintenance Division
Parks, Grounds, and Facilities Maintenance division is responsible for over 730 acres of park land which includes two major active parks with over 100 acres each, eight neighborhood parks, a lighted stadium, a veteran’s memorial park, and four open space passive parks. The division is responsible for the upkeep of park amenities including 3 water spray parks, 14 tennis courts (5 lighted), 6 lighted sand volleyball courts, 1 modified pickle ball court, 7 fishing areas, 2 horseshoe pits, 2 bocce courts, 6 basketball courts, 6 pre-school playscapes, an ADA compliant accessible playground, para-fitness course, 4 baseball diamonds, 6 (3 lighted) softball diamonds, jogging path, metered walking path, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, 2 eighteen hole disc golf courses, 2 off-leash dog parks, and a skate park plaza.
Recreation division is responsible for administering hundreds of recreational programs and special events throughout the year. A variety of programs are offered; serving the varied interests of Bristol residents from pre-school to senior citizens. This includes popular summer camps, sports clinics, arts instruction, Summer Concerts, Santa Land Village, and much more. Recreational programs increase physical, social, and emotional wellness and serve to enhance community spirit, as well as, the quality of life for every resident. In 2019 the former Pine Lake Challenge Course was re-branded as the Pine Lake Adventure Park, and was re-aligned within the recreation division in order to provide a well-rounded recreational and outdoor adventure-based experiential learning program.
Aquatics division is responsible for the oversight of the Dennis Malone Aquatics Center and two outdoor park pools at Page and Rockwell. The division offers seasonal memberships and daily passes for thousands of patrons annually. An extensive American Red Cross Learn to Swim program is offered at all 3 facilities, annually teaching thousands of Bristol youth this critical life skill. In addition, the division offers water fitness programs, training classes, recreational swim teams, special events, and more. The Dennis Malone Aquatics Center is also host to Bristol Central High School/Bristol Eastern High School Swim Teams, St. Paul and Lewis Mills Swim Teams, private rentals and Bristol Health for water therapy.
Youth and Community Services Division
Youth and Community Services division is responsible for the coordination of a comprehensive community-based youth services bureau and the delivery of essential life services for Bristol residents in need. The Bureau strives to enhance the networking and support between family, school, peer and community environments. Direct services including juvenile diversion programming, individual and family counseling, outreach support, crisis support and case management, youth employment training and positive youth development opportunities.
Community Services provides adults with critical information and referrals to available community and state resources. Advocacy and referrals are made for housing, mental/physical health, medical insurance, state benefits, and utilization of the statewide 211 resource. Short term case management and support is provided to individuals in transition and/or emotional distress. One-time assistance is available to residents descending into a long-term crisis or life altering circumstances.