Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

September 2019


City Parks Alliance on Park Funding & Equity

Recent Rec Report Feature Stories

Survey Reveals Top Outdoor Recreation Activities - August 2019

Pediatricians Urge Communities to Provide Swim Lessons for All - August 2019

Report: Tennis Participation Remains Consistent - August 2019

Survey: Only Half of Collegiate Sports Programs Follow NCAA Model for Student Medical Care - August 2019

Fieldhouse Renovated, Expanded at UW-Platteville - July 2019

NRPA, Disney Award Play Space Grants - July 2019

Swim Clinic Teaches Water Safety Basics - July 2019

Nation's Pediatrics: Put More Emphasis on Enjoyment of Sports - July 2019

Diabetes Declines, National DPP Program Helped - July 2019

Washington, D.C., Unseats Minneapolis as Best City Park System - June 2019

Survey: Half of Americans Use the Pool as a 'Communal Bathtub' - June 2019

NFL Foundation Helps to Advance Youth Wellness - June 2019

Youth Sports Participation Holds Steady in 2018 - June 2019

Dog Parks Still on the Rise - May 2019

USA Swimming Grants Will Boost Learn-to-Swim Programs - May 2019

IHRSA: One in Five Americans Belong to at Least One Health Club - May 2019

New Program Aims to Grow Pickleball & Tennis - May 2019

IHRSA Reports on Health Club Compensation - April 2019

Grant Funding Brings Parks Closer to People in 10 Cities - April 2019

Note & Float Program Reaches Lifesaving Milestone - April 2019

Fund Established to Assist Aspiring Women Coaches - April 2019

Applications Open for ESPN RePlay Program - April 2019

NRPA Offers Play Space Grants - March 2019

Smarter Lifeguard Management - March 2019

U.S. Soccer Foundation Aims to Boost Female Participation - March 2019

In Oregon, Outdoor Recreation Saves $1.4 Billion in Healthcare Costs - March 2019

Survey: Communities Should Support Pollinators - February 2019

NSPF, APSP Unite to Form Pool & Hot Tub Alliance - February 2019

Guide Aims to Help Gyms Implement Diabetes Prevention - February 2019

Senior Living Continues Shift Toward Wellness - February 2019

Partnership Aims to Expand Play Opportunities - January 2019

Grant Funds Help Educate Pool Operators - January 2019

NFL Foundation Grants Boost Local Football Fields - January 2019

Leaders Recognized for Advancing Outdoor Recreation - January 2019

Goldfish Swim School Sponsors USA Swimming Foundation - December 2018

Physical Activity for Kids Gets Low Grade - December 2018

New Law Helps Sports Medicine Professionals & Athletes - December 2018

Outdoor Recreation Adds Billions to U.S. Economy - November 2018

Nearly $1 Million in Pool Grants Awarded - November 2018

Report: One in Four Americans Use a Health Club - November 2018

New Active Transportation Program Aims to Boost Health & Environment - November 2018

Foundation Celebrates Sports Innovations - October 2018

Grant Awarded to Chattanooga Nature Play Area - October 2018

Obesity Continues to Challenge America's Health - October 2018

Grant Program Funds Keep America Beautiful Initiatives - October 2018

Nation's Pediatricians Emphasize Power of Play - October 2018

Step Into Swim Continues to Create New Swimmers - September 2018

Pickleball Benefits Older Adults - September 2018

NSPF Endorses MAHC Adoption - September 2018

Cities Spend More on Public Parks in 2018 - September 2018

By Dave Ramont

City Parks Alliance has a mission to “engage, educate and nurture a broad-based constituency to support the creation, revitalization and sustainability of parks and green spaces that contribute to dynamic cities.” They’re the only independent, nationwide membership organization solely dedicated to urban parks.

Recently, in an effort to assist cities with addressing park equity and implementing innovative strategies when it comes to funding for parks and green infrastructure, the City Parks Alliance commissioned a report titled “Investing in Equitable Urban Park Systems: Emerging Strategies and Tools.” The report looks at 20 funding models and their equity considerations in cities of various sizes across the United States. The research revealed new sources of funding, as well as strategies that are shaping funding decisions through an equity lens.

City parks are at the center of resilient and equitable cities, according to Catherine Nagel, executive director for City Parks Alliance. She said that these green spaces offer important infrastructure benefits, as well as being utilized for recreation, respite and community cohesion. “Growing urban populations and resilience to environmental challenges are some of the issues straining already-tight municipal budgets. Our research shows some of the ways cities can leverage the equity, health and environmental benefits of parks to identify new sources of funding, new cost-sharing partnerships and new support for parks.”

Many city residents—especially in low-income communities where the benefits of green spaces are particularly beneficial—are without access to quality parks and the recreational opportunities they provide. This is often due to limited funding for parks and green infrastructure. Additionally, low-income communities that might receive park investments often face the threat of displacement for businesses or long-time residents. But “green gentrification” can be reduced by programs that support businesses and long-time residents.

Urban Institute led the research and published the report, which was made possible with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Matthew Eldridge is lead researcher with Urban Institute, and he said the research confirmed that park leaders and their allies in government and communities are already having conversations about how different park investments and funding decisions either address or exacerbate park equity gaps. “Places are thinking of funding in terms of where it’s coming from, what it’s being used for, how it’s being distributed and what impacts it’s having on communities. In many cities, and especially in ones with limited resources, addressing the park equity gap from a funding perspective requires creative thinking about the roles of parks, engagement of communities in planning and decision-making and the leveraging of new data and partnerships.”

“This research is intended to help cities avoid unintended consequences by learning from other cities and park systems and identify new potential partnerships for creating, maintaining and programming parks,” said Nagel.

City Parks Alliance has also partnered with Groundwork USA for a second phase of research, which will continue through the spring of 2020. This will include a review of park equity frameworks from several major park systems and a practical guide on how local conditions shape and inform funding and park equity.