Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Luncheon Fuels Fire for Action: National Policy Luncheon Participants Break Bread over Budget Talks

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Luncheon Fuels Fire for Action: National Policy Luncheon Participants Break Bread over Budget Talks

Article excerpt

More than 400 people filled the Grand Hyatt Washington's ballroom for the National Legislative Forum on Parks and Recreation's National Policy Luncheon. Aside from the overall energy resulting from the first day of the Legislative Forum, the mood was also somber at times over the future of federal funding for parks and recreation.

"Your presence in this city at this time is very critical," says Neil Stanley, interim director for the Department of Parks and Recreation for the District of Columbia. Stanley's message was perhaps a foreshadowing of the theme of this year's Legislative Forum. "There are members ... who just don't get it," he says. "They still think that parks and recreation are niceties. They don't get the value of parks and recreation. They don't really understand how a parks and recreation system ... can improve the over-all health of a city."

Charlie Cook, the keynote speaker who is a non-partisan political analyst, helped NRPA members understand why the next four years will pose challenges for park and recreation agencies. "This is a period of enormous anxiety for the park and recreation sector," Cook says. "Here is a chronically underfunded but essential sector--you never get as much as you need. …

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