Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Great Lakes Region. (Regional Reports)

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Great Lakes Region. (Regional Reports)

Article excerpt

St. Paul, Minn., faces one of its worst budget crises, its parks and recreation department is poised for an overhaul that likely will dramatically alter its delivery of programs and services to residents. To be sure the changes reflect the needs of the community, a phone survey of 700 citizens featuring 80 questions was conducted in February. At the center of the city's parks and recreation revamp Bob Bierscheid, the new director of parks and recreation. He says the city's budget challenges make a new approach all the more necessary. "The system has expanded and the resources haven't matched to keep them operating," Bierscheid says. "This an opportunity, whether we like it or not, because we're forced into it. It has to be. We have no choice."

NRPA member Ken Kutska, Wheaton Park (Ill.) District's director of parks and planning, was honored with the Illinois Park and Recreation Association's highest honor, the Robert Artz Distinguished Service Award. Kutska received the award at IPRA's conference in Chicago. Kutska is one of the founders of the National Playground Safety Institute and former NRPA President. NRPA member Carolyn Nagle, executive director of the Fox Valley Special Recreation Association, received the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Society Special Recognition Award for distinguished service at the conference. Nagle has worked in therapeutic recreation for 25 years, 10 at Fox Valley.

About 50 of the 62 local parks in Des Moines, Iowa, could be lost under a budget-cutting proposal being considered by city leaders. The proposal targeted the parks and recreation department, which represents about $17.8 million of the city's $136 million budget. The proposal came as the city was trying to close a $14 million budget shortfall. "Fundamentally, we're looking at restructuring the whole park system," says City Councilman Frank Cownie. Cownie said residents might benefit more and pay less if the city focused on eight to 10 large parks while selling off the smaller ones.

NRPA member Dick Peddemors, of Sidney, Ohio, retired as Five Rivers Metro Parks assistant director of operations in March. With a 36-year career in parks and recreation, Peddemors recently received the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association's Harvey Woods Lifetime Achievement Award at the OPRC Conference and Trade Show in Dayton.

Ypsilanti, Mich., has a fresh list of possible park improvement projects totaling $11.7 million, but no money to do any of the work. The park improvement wish list was developed as part of a new five-year master plan for city parks and recreation programs. But officials say a tight city budget, a sluggish economy and cuts in state funding will force the city to put most of these recommendations on hold. "The next two or three years are going to be challenging," says council member Barry LaRue. The city is required to update its recreation master plan every five years.

Carmel Clay (Ind.) Parks and Recreation was the recipient of three awards given at the Indiana Parks and Recreation Association's annual conference in Indianapolis this past winter. These awards and recognition from IPRA are a tribute to the outstanding effort, creativity and dedication to the quality demonstrated by the Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation board and staff. …

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