“I love parks. I don’t know if that’s something I’ve communicated before.”

Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

Amerson River Park has been nominated for a Knope Award through Engaging Local Government Leaders, and people can vote for it to move to the next round by clicking here through March 11.


If Leslie Knope could spend time in Amerson River Park, she’d fall in love with it immediately. With its 160+ acres, 4+ miles of trails, a playground, multiple pavilions, river overlooks and access, outdoor gym equipment, large open lawns, and more…what’s not to love?


“More than 450,000 people visit Amerson River Park each year, so it was only a matter of time before it got national attention,” says Parks & Beautification Director Sam Kitchens. “It’s become one of our region’s premiere destinations and a source of great pride for our department and community.”

In its third year, the Knope Awards recognize local government places, and this year, they are honoring local parks. (In previous years, the recognized libraries and city halls.) The competition is modeled after March Madness, and Amerson River Park has made it to the round of 32 where they face Rock Gardens at Taylor Crossing in Idaho Falls, ID in the April Division. The only way for Amerson to move to the Sweet 16 is for people to cast their vote in favor of it.


ELGL is a national organization that, among other things, celebrates and initiates programs and conversations that make public service and local government enjoyable. For more information about ELGL, click here. The Knope Award is named for Leslie Knope, a character from the popular television show Parks and Recreation. They also have awards named other characters in the show, including Tom Haverford (Top Vendors) and Chris Traeger (Top People).


About Amerson River Park

Amerson River Park is the former site of the Macon Water Authority’s treatment plant that was submerged in the Flood of 1994. After a new treatment plant was built away from the river, the area became a 160+-acre rugged park. A federal grant of $5.5 million allowed Macon-Bibb County to shut it down for 15 months to make significant improvements, including two new picnic pavilions, upgrades to the Porter Pavilion area, a scenic river overlook, bathrooms at the playground, 3.5 miles of paved trails, 0.75 miles of mulch trails, a grand entrance, a new canoe takeout, and more. It reopened in May 2015, and during those summer months, more than 3,000 people visited it per week. Since then, more than 450,000 people have visited each year.


In the next several years, the trails in Amerson River Park will connect to the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail through historic Linwood and Rose Hill Cemeteries and across the river to the Trail in East Macon-Bibb. The Trail will then connect to trails in the Ocmulgee Indian Mounds, creating a continuous 12-15 miles of trail along the Ocmulgee River.