Board Chairman Honored

VLPRA Board Chairman Receives Statewide Award

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority Board’s longtime chairman received a statewide award for his many years of volunteerism.

The Georgia Recreation and Park Association named VLPRA Authority Board Chairman Mike McDowell the Volunteer of the Year for 2017 at the organization’s annual conference.  The honor is given to an individual whose efforts have had lasting effects on recreation and leisure services programs.  He also received the GRPA District Three Special Recognition Award for his years of involvement.

McDowell has been a member of the VLPRA Board since its inception in 2009, receiving no pay for the countless hours of work and energy he’s dedicated to the community.

Mr. McDowell and the VLPRA Board are currently working on four capital projects, three of which are SPLOST-related.  They are in the design phase for constructing a new soccer complex at North Lowndes Park, a new Miracle Field Complex at Freedom Park, and adding half a dozen courts to VLPRA’s existing tennis complex.  There will also be a grand opening soon for the newly built community center in Naylor.

Mr. McDowell has been heavily involved in the growth of VLPRA’s youth sports programs.  His steadfast support has helped catapult the Authority’s school-based programs into the limelight.  VLPRA’s youth football program has seen a 210% increase in participation since switching to a school-based system, with cheerleading, volleyball, and basketball seeing similar growth.

Another point of pride for Mr. McDowell is VLPRA’s economic impact on the community.  Under his and fellow Board members’ leadership, the VLPRA has begun hosting dozens of baseball, softball, and tennis tournaments each year.  The Authority has become a true economic engine for our area with nearly $20 million dollars of economic impact over the last three and a half years.  Mr. McDowell has championed the recruitment of tournaments and maximizing the utilization if VLPRA facilities to yield the most impact for the area economy while providing the best possible programs for residents.

McDowell is married to Sherry McDowell.  The couple has three sons and two grandchildren.  McDowell received the state award at the GRPA Awards Banquet in Columbus, Georgia.