Magazine article Parks & Recreation

From the Director's Chair

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

From the Director's Chair

Article excerpt

Innovation is today's watchword, and leaders in the park and recreation space know they have just as much to gain by staying ahead of the curve as do their counterparts in tech or public health. At NRPA, Conference season is a particularly useful time to examine trends in our field, as thousands of park and recreation professionals gather to discuss what's on the cutting edge, and what's right over the horizon. This month, we're talking trends with directors from this year's Conference host city, St. Louis, as well as hosts for the 2017 and 2018 event, New Orleans and Indianapolis. We asked Gary Bess, director of the St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department; Victor N. Richard, III, CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission; and Linda Broadfoot, director of Indy Parks and Recreation, the following question: What do you see as the most prominent trend in today's park and recreation field? Below are their responses.

Gary Bess

When I entered parks and recreation full time in 1974, many of the 90 municipalities within St. Louis County's borders did not exist and few provided well-established leisure services. During the past 40 years, municipalities, communities and neighborhoods have established programs and built facilities to meet their specific needs.

The challenge to park professionals today is to recognize this trend when planning facilities and programs and work to make sure we are not duplicating services, but complementing the efforts of our neighbors while still meeting the desires of local residents.

Recognizing the combined wealth of park and recreation facilities within our region and the need to connect our county to other parts of the area, voters overwhelmingly approved the formation of Great Rivers Greenway to connect our parks and region with linear trails and greenways, as well as assist local municipalities and the county by providing funds for trails and greenways within their jurisdictions.

Victor N. Richard, III

To keep par with what I see as the most prominent trend in today's park and recreation field, the city of New Orleans/ New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORDC), in conjunction with the New Orleans Recreation Development Foundation (NORDF), made a more than $120,000 investment in the acquisition of the RecTrac, MainTrac and WebTrac modules from Vermont Systems, Inc. in 2014. These programs have significantly advanced the data collection, monitoring and reporting sophistication of all recreation and facility use operations of NORDC.

With the implementation of these recreation management modules, the intentionality behind our public engagement has been enhanced. …

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