Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Time to Act: Urban Park and Recreation Issues Need to Be Addressed

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Perspectives: Time to Act: Urban Park and Recreation Issues Need to Be Addressed

Article excerpt

"When a nation abandons a tradition that has served it well ... adopts a course that ignores what its citizens value most ... allows indifference to a cherished part of our heritage ... and diminishes the ways we can make a difference in the lives of Americans ... then it is time to act."

Sounds a little like the Declaration of Independence, doesn't it? These words may not be of the same magnitude, but they do capture the spirit of a tradition that preceded 1776.

In 1634, the citizens of Boston, Mass., established America's first urban park. And since that time, Boston's Common, New York's Central Park, Chicago's Millenium Park and countless other urban parks around the country have provided a place to recreate in the midst of the dense environment of our cities.

Many of these urban parks and programs are under threat. By some accounts, funding for parks and recreation will fall $38 billion short of meeting basic needs through the next four years. In fact, the primary federal program to fund urban parks has gone unfunded for three years in a row, and no funds were included in the budget for the coming fiscal year.

That is why NRPA gathered the directors of the park and recreation directors from the 25 largest cities last June to discuss what could be done.

Since that time, the directors have been planning a major Urban Park and Recreation Summit that will be held later this month in Chicago. Directors from the top 100 cities have been invited, as well as their mayors, other prominent civic officials, Congressional representatives and those that share urban park and recreation concerns. …

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