Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Urban Legends

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Urban Legends

Article excerpt

NRPA makes history by convening a summit of city leaders to create a new national agenda for urban parks and recreation.

Close to 400 participants including park and recreation professionals, citizens, health-care providers, politicians and others concerned with urban issues, attended the first-ever Urban Park and Recreation Summit in Chicago, Ill, on May 17-18. The summit was the result ot continued challenges taced by most urban park and recreation departments in funding, maintenance and support, in addition to the public's lack of understanding of how parks and recreation are imperatives for quality of life.

Attendees were treated to a dramatic unveiling of a National Agenda for Urban Parks and Recreation in America that will serve as a call to action tor our nation's cities. The call to action asks urban leaders to focus their thinking and efforts around four pillars: health and wellness, community and economic development, environment, and youth.

In addition, participants attended workshops with the foremost experts in these areas, shared best practices, and discussed examples from their own communities. They also formed in caucus groups to talk about how the National Agenda would be applied in certain interest areas or geographic regions.

Highlights from the summit included:

* Long Beach (Calif.) Mayor Beverly O'Neill's keynote address on the importance of parks and recreation to the quality of life in urban centers.

* Tips and ideas for measuring the economic impacts of parks and recreation from Dr. John Crompton, distinguished professor from Texas A&M University.

* Staggering, new statistics from the Trust for Public Land on the positive influence and impact of parks and recreation to cities, delivered by Peter Harnick, director the Trust's Center for City Park Excellence.

* A presentation by Chicago Alderman Mary Ann Smith showcasing how parks and recreation have made a difference in the lives of Chicago residents.

NRPA and its partner organizations, including the Trust for Public Land, City Parks Alliance, Urban Park and Recreation Alliance, Roundtable Associates, and the National Recreation and Park Ethnic Minority Society, will continue the work that began at the summit-seeking through a variety of means to educate leaders at the federal, state and local level, and to make parks and recreation a core pillar in municipal platforms.

Turn the page to read the National Agenda tor Urban Parks and Recreation in America, and more on the summit's dynamic speakers.

A Call to Action for Urban Parks and Recreation in America

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 its heritage, and diminishes the ways we can make a difference in the lives of Americans-then it is time to act.

Urban parks enrich our lives. They educate, protect and enrich America's young people. They provide places to play after school and during summer vacations, and give individuals and families countless hours of recreation and relaxation.

Parks produce clean air and protect cities from floodwaters. They help to increase property value, grow the local tax base, contribute to education, reduce crime, attract businesses, and create jobs.

We make public our call to action to reverse the neglect of our nation's cherished urban parks.

We believe a national renaissance for America's urban parks must arise from a new compact between federal, state and city governments, joined by citizen groups, private foundations and businesses. …

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