It is the mission of the City of Bristol Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services to provide a wide range of recreational opportunities to enhance the quality of life for all Bristol residents. The Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services is committed to meeting the diverse needs of the Bristol community and ensuring everyone has access to well-maintained and attractive facilities. The Parks and Recreation Department believes that everyone deserves a great park - regardless of age, ability, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status.
In order to administer the best quality services in the most efficient way, the department is organized into 5 operational divisions including: Administration, Parks, Grounds and Facilities Maintenance, Recreation, Aquatics and Youth and Community Services. The professional staff consists of 32 full-time employees and more than 250 part-time seasonal employees. Policy is set by a 7 member Board of Park Commissioners and an 11 member Youth Commission.
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 B.E.S.T.-4- Bristol 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 manages the department master/strategic plans, establishes fundraising events, pursues new funding sources and provides direct project management for the pursuit of CAPRA (Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies) accreditation.
Parks, Grounds and 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, an indoor aquatics facility, 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, parafitness course, 4 baseball diamonds, 6 (3 lighted) softball diamonds, jogging path, metered walking path, hiking trails, 2 eighteen hole disc golf courses, 2 off-leash dog park, and a skatepark plaza.
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. The former Pine Lake Challenge Course was rebranded as the Pine Lake Adventure Park, re-aligned within the recreation division in order to provide a well-rounded recreational and outdoor adventure-based experiential learning program.
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 to 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 BCHS/BEHS Swim Teams, St. Paul and Lewis Mills Swim Teams, private rentals and Bristol Hospital for water therapy.
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.
The Department of Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services is an essential service provider that impacts the lives of all Bristol residents. The department is not an isolated unit of local government, but is vitally related to all other community forces and collaborates regularly with other agencies serving the leisure-time interests of the citizens. In addition to providing high quality recreation programs and well-maintained facilities, the Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth and Community Services Department is committed to being at the forefront of solution-based problem solving to address current and future challenges facing the City of Bristol.