Editor's Desk - November 2008
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Close to Home

"Gapers' delay," we call it here in the Chicago area. The tendency of drivers to slow down to take a closer look at an accident. It may have other names in other regions, but lately I've been discovering that it doesn't just apply to traffic. It also seems to apply to the stock market numbers. Every time I hit "home" on my Web browser, I find my eyes drawn to the roller-coaster ride of the markets and the crunching of credit behind those numbers. It feels similar to looking out the car window at an accident.

"Gosh, I hope no one's hurt," you keep thinking.

We've all heard the dismal economic news. And for some, it's hitting close to home.

Here in Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has put 11 state parks and 14 state historic sites on the chopping block. As I write this, there's a bill to reinstate funding on his desk, but for now, the sites are all still on schedule to close by Nov. 30.

I'm hoping it's all a bluff and that the governor will approve the funding reinstatement within the 60 days he's given to do so. One of the parks on the roster for closure is Moraine View State Park, near my hometown.

This is the park where I took my first hike. This is the park where I first went camping. This is where in college, when an art appreciation professor asked us to attend a gallery exhibit and write about it, I chose to write about the changing leaves at Dawson Lake (as we locals called Moraine View), the slow slipping of the seasons on vibrant display, which to me, rivaled any manmade art.

All of the Illinois parks slated for closure could either remain open (if the governor chooses to sign the funding bill) or could reopen in the future, but without the regular maintenance and upkeep that all parks require, how will they fare in the long run?

It illustrates a major challenge for parks, recreation and fitness professionals in tough economic times. When the budgets dry up, how can you keep up with public demand, which often only increases as people try to find their entertainment closer to home?

So I put that question to you, readers. What are you doing in the midst of this downturn to stay competitive in the long term? How are you coping with budget cuts, and how is your facility faring?

We all know that what goes up must come down, and we also know that when it comes to the economy, what goes down generally comes back up, even stronger than it was before. For now, we may be hunkering down, but the challenges of today provide a lesson for tomorrow: to prepare well for these times once the economy improves. Once things get better, we might have to play catch-up, but at the same time, we need to bear in mind when the bulls are running that the bears will return again.

For now, I'm headed out for what might be a last-chance hike in Moraine View, to enjoy those changing leaves. To everything, a season, and a time for every purpose under the sun.

See you on the trail!

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director

Department of Corrections

We'd like to take this opportunity to make a couple of corrections:

1. In the September 2008 issue on page 7, we failed to identify the park pictured in the photos. It was the Coachella Valley Recreation and Park District's Reactive Fitness Area at La Quinta Community Center in La Quinta, Calif., and it's also pictured to the right. Thanks to Joanne Eglash of TriActive America and the assistant general manager of the park for pointing out the omission.

2. In the September 2008 Guide to Sports Surfaces, there was an error in identifying the flooring used in the gym at Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y. The gym floor is not a rubber synthetic surface, as identified in the article. In fact, it is a synthetic floor, but it is resilient vinyl, not rubber. Approximately 8,500 square feet was installed. Thanks to Robin Traum of Gerflor Taraflex Sports Flooring for identifying this mistake.


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