City's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department takes home four state awards

Heather McGaughey Children's Theatre, Farmington Museum, Ricketts Park grounds crew and volunteer George Golombowski receive statewide recognition

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Heather McGaughey Children’s Theater Program has been awarded youth program of the year by the New Mexico Recreation and Parks Association.

It was one of four awards the Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department received this year from the New Mexico Recreation and Parks Association. The association gave out a total of 13 awards statewide.

The PRCA officially received the four awards during the annual New Mexico Recreation and Parks Association conference in August. However, PRCA Assistant Director Natalie Spruell presented the awards to the various winning programs as well as the volunteer during a City Council work session on Oct. 15.

Melissa Cheffers and Paul Stewart III accept the Youth Program of the Year award on behalf of Heather McGaughey Children's Theatre, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, during the Farmington City Council meeting.

The children’s theater program provides theatrical training for children ages 8 to 12. These youth perform a musical each summer. This year’s productions included “High School Musical” and “The Lion King Kids.”

Mayor Nate Duckett said his daughter participated in the children’s theater program.

“She’s a true performer and it started from your passion feeding into her,” he said. “I’ve watched her bloom and she loves it.”

Museum promotes outdoor recreation

The PRCA also won the 2019 Adult Program of the Year award for the Farmington Museum’s trips and hikes series, which includes history hikes, the Museum “EdVentures” and tours of the Bisti Badlands.

Spruell said the series of hikes and trips has created a community of people and helped improve the health of participants. She said one couple lost a combined 100 pounds as a result of the activity.

Bart Wilsey and Danielle Greyeyes accept an award for the adult program of the year, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, during the Farmington City Council work session.

Duckett said it is fantastic that the museum and the city’s PRCA received state recognition for something that the city is trying to build around — outdoor recreation and public lands.

“We want to do more of those types of things because we’re trying to attract people to those areas,” Duckett said about the museum’s trips and hikes series.

Ricketts Park grounds crew recognized

The Connie Mack World Series grounds crew prepares the field for another baseball game.

The grounds crew that maintains Ricketts Park received the 2019 Parks and Grounds Maintenance Award.

Spruell said Ricketts Park is one of the few remaining natural turf ball fields, meaning the crews have to fertilize grass and mow, trim, edge and line. She said the crew also inspects and repairs the irrigation lines.

The Ricketts Park grounds crew is recognized after winning the New Mexico Recreation and Parks Association's 2019 Parks and Grounds Maintenance Award.

“That field has never looked better than it looked this year,” said Councilor Linda Rodgers. “It looked beautiful.”

Duckett said the city was discussing installing artificial turf on the field earlier this year.

“Everybody came back and said, ‘no, we want that to be the natural turf field. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome,’” Duckett said.

Farmington resident's volunteer service acknowledged

George Golombowski

The 2019 Outstanding Volunteer Service award went to Farmington resident George Golombowski, who has donated more than 2,500 hours of service since January 1999.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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