Despite budget cuts, creative parks and recreation departments have found ways to keep most services alive.
…A Governing review of census and CDC data finds communities where more residents walk or bike to work boast significantly healthier weights. The analysis of 2010 statistics for 126 metropolitan areas finds these communities are strongly correlated with higher numbers of residents who are neither obese nor overweight.
Historically, studies have linked trails, sidewalks and bike lanes with an increase in walking or cycling. As medical costs continue to rise and evidence mounts that such infrastructure also improves well-being, more officials might look to give health consideration greater standing in transportation planning….
If people’s lives are at stake because of poorly funded parks, shouldn’t we do something about it?
This has been a bad year for state and local parks. If you’ve come across park gates that are chained shut or playgrounds that are rusting, as we have, then you know this firsthand. Budget crises have forced states to not only drastically cut park funding but consider unprecedented closures as well. … This neglect runs contrary to public opinion, which consistently supports parks, even in a time of shrinking budgets, because they are good for the economy, animal habitats, family bonding, community building and the growing problems of childhood obesity and nature deficit disorder — a term coined by Richard Louv, who argues that children are spending less time outdoors because of parental safety fears and the presence of TV and other electronic screens. … But recent research suggests that parks aren’t just good for our well-being, they may even be a matter of life and death. In a December 2005 Environmental Health Perspectives article, Amy Schulz and her colleagues suggested that parks might be a protective factor in cardiovascular disease risk; an absence of safe parks may be part of why poverty leads to poorer health outcomes.
Source: National Recreation and Park Association, 2012
Health & Physical Activity
Crime & At-Risk Youth
Disparities In Parks & Recreation
If you ran a business that controlled hundreds of mil¬lions of dollars worth of prime real estate, scenic walking trails, elegant gardens, boating basins, ice rinks, outdoor performance venues, forests, and fields, you’d probably want people to know about it. But scores of institutions with this kind of resource wealth do almost nothing to promote what they’ve got. They are America’s big-city park and recreation departments–from Boston to Los Angeles to Honolulu. According to a survey by The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, almost half of the nation’s largest park departments do not spend any money on public outreach….
Reprinted from the August 2010 issue of Parks & Recreation magazine.
Historically, it’s not a new idea. Before there were public parks, cemeteries–most famously in the United States Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which dates to 1831, and Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, which opened in 1838–were the primary manicured and sculpted green spaces within cities. As parks arose, the recreational use of graveyards fell off. But today, some cities have hundreds of acres of public and private cemetery grounds. Some already help mitigate the shortage of urban parkland (see “Selected Urban Cemeteries That Function Like Parks”). Others, with some modifications, could do the same.
Reprinted from the December 2010 issue of Landscape Architecture
Source: Tanya Kenevich, American Cemetery, April 2012
Looking at some cemeteries, you might get the impression that grounds maintenance consists of throwing down some grass seed and praying that it grows. However, American Cemetery’s 2012 grounds maintenance survey results show how important proper maintenance is.
Visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009, according to a report issued by the National Park Service today….The economic impact figures for the National Park System released today are based on $12 billion in direct spending by the 281 million visitors to parks in 2010 and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University.
This study provides updated estimates of NPS visitor spending for 2010 and extends the analysis to include impacts of the NPS payroll on local economies. Visitor spending and local impacts are estimated using the Money General Model version 2 (MGM2) based on 2010 park visits, spending averages from park visitor surveys, and local area economic multipliers. Impacts of the NPS payroll are estimated based on 2010 payroll data for each park….
– Press release
– Total Vistor Spending and Jobs by State and Park 2010
Cities are looking outside traditional means of funding to keep up with demand for new parks.
This is the first installment of a four-part series that will explore 80 ways to reduce operating expenses. In these difficult economic times, these ways could be the difference between having a profitable year and one of significant financial loss. After all, every dollar of reduced operating expense goes straight to the bottom line of an annual profit-and-loss statement. Take these suggestions at face value, or modify them for your agency. Either way, please take a look. Shaving a few dollars here and there might just save a job.
– Part 1 Labor
– Part 2 Equipment and supplies
– Part 3 Contracts
– Part 4 Utilities and equipment