Unify our parks and recreation systems
To the Editor:
It's autumn in Philadelphia. The Phillies are in the World Series, and the Eagles' season is in full swing. While we cheer for our professional sports teams, kids and adults all over this City are playing baseball at over 160 ballfields, football on 70 fields, tennis on nearly 300 courts and soccer at approximately 125 sites. Runners, walkers and cyclists are enjoying 9,200 acres of parkland throughout the City.
Philadelphia's parkland and recreation facilities enhance our quality of life, strengthen neighborhoods, promote environmental sustainability and boost tourist attraction.
That's why it is important that we support these critical assets.
The operations and maintenance of our parks and recreation centers are currently carried out by two separate departments - the Fairmount Park Commission and the Recreation Department.
Over the years, this has resulted in overlapping responsibilities, confusion in delivery of services and historic under-funding.
In 2004, a strategic plan developed for Fairmount Park recommended a combined department of Parks and Recreation to improve leadership, performance and accountability. This merger would require a change to Philadelphia's governing document, our Home Rule Charter.
Under the leadership of councilman Darrell Clarke and councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, City Council passed legislation proposing an amendment to the Home Rule Charter which gives voters the opportunity to say "yes" to a new, merged Department of Parks and Recreation.
On Election Day, Nov. 4, Philadelphia voters will be asked the following question:
Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to merge the powers and duties of the Fairmount Park Commission and the Department of Recreation into a newly created Department of Parks and Recreation, to establish a new Commission on Parks and Recreation and to provide for its powers and duties?
I urge you to vote "yes" on this question.
A new unified City department for parks and recreation will provide a great opportunity to respect the history and mission of both departments while strengthening the programs and services we offer to all our citizens.
Michael Nutter The author is Mayor of PhiladelphiaComments powered by Disqus
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