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contents march 2018

Image courtesy of Indy Parks

volume 53 | number 3 |


42 Learning + Play = Sandorf Park Annually, as part of our mission, NRPA revitalizes or creates a park in the host city for our conference through our Parks Build Community project. This, the first in a series of articles about the creation of Sandorf Park, located on the southeast side of Indianapolis, allows you to journey with us to the grand reveal this fall during the 2018 Annual Conference. Paula Jacoby-Garrett

48 Measuring the Use of Public Neighborhood Parks Park departments provide a wide array of community assets, maintain multiple facilities and coordinate many programs, yet seldom can precisely measure how many people are being served. And, without benchmarks and measures, it is impossible to know whether they are successfully meeting the needs of community member; that is, until now. Deborah Cohen, MD, MPH, and Bing Han, Ph.D.


Parks & Recreation

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contents march

8 Perspectives Values and Voice Barbara Tulipane, CAE


10 Editor’s Letter

12 Research

Ensuring Our Parks’ Future Gina Mullins-Cohen

„„ The Economic Power of Local Parks and Rec 12 „„ Park Pulse: Inclusive Play Options at Community Playgrounds 14

24 Advocacy Farming in Parks (aka #FarmPark) Kate Clabaugh

16 Member to Member „„ You Have My Word on It: Signage in City Parks 16 „„ ‘Go Green With Us’ 20

26 Law Review Limited Duty Applicable to Overdose Cardiac Arrest James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

54 NRPA Update „„ The Importance of Championing Your Work 54

32 Future Leaders

„„ Wildlife Explorers Program Update 56 „„ NRPA on Capitol Hill 58

And the Award Goes to… Kevin Witte, CPRP

„„ Park & Recreation Month Cover Contest 58 „„ Member Spotlight: Sonya Shaw 59

34 Conservation

„„ Parks & Recreation Crossword 60

Texas Park Sets Green Standard with Net Zero Denton Ragland

„„ Connect Hot Topics 62 „„ Member Benefit: Preparing for Camp Season? We Can Help! 62 „„ Professional Development Calendar 63

36 Health and Wellness Creating Wellness Policies for Your Park and Recreation Department Emmanuel Salazar and Irene Tostado

64 Operations A ‘Brand’-New Golf Course for Arlington, Texas Hal Phillips

38 Social Equity ‘Creating Good Citizens’ Robert García

66 Products 66 Park Essentials 71 Advertiser Index 72 Park Bench

Cover photo courtesy of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf 6

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Photo by Emma Cassidy

Play Ball! Sonia Myrick

Page 24


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Values and Voice I want to share with you a column that was so beautifully written by Kevin O’Hara, our VP for Urban and Governmental Affairs, in a recent issue of Urban Insider. We often talk about our values and who parks and recreation gives voice to. This is a testament to the power of our values and voice. Thank you, Kevin, for capturing who we are and what we stand for. Our Values, Value and Voice Who is the most important user of parks and recreation infrastructure? Mothers and children? Teens? Seniors? Millennials? Does it matter? When we talk about our values, the idea of value, and our voice, we’re really talking about the values and voice of your work and the work of people on the ground in parks and recreation. So, here’s my summation: Values Parks and recreation has the ability to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population, yearround, and regardless of race, creed, background or ability to pay, in pretty much every community in the country. Because of this, we may be one of the few trusted entities left in American society, or certainly in government. Value Our ability to deliver both joy and substance — giving the option for life-affirming experiences with nature and preventative healthcare through intentional programs — uniquely positions parks and recreation to provide the balm to our troubled national psyche. No matter what you need, we’ve got you covered. Stressed over the latest tweet from our commander in chief? Try a tai chi or Zumba class. Commute getting you down? Try a walk with your kids or dog along a trail. In a rut after the holidays? How about a paddle along a waterway? Stuck in the vice grip of a seemingly endless polar vortex? Try a swim in the relative tropics of a local indoor pool or rent some cross-country skis and face Father Winter head-on. Voice This is where I struggle. There are so many great stories and so much value added that perhaps our strength in value is our weakness in voice. We are in some ways all things to all people, which dilutes the impact. The new mother finds respite and community at the playground. The 14-year-old down the block looks forward to the pick-up game after school lets out. The senior a few doors down revels in the sense of community provided by the weekly Mahjong game and a lively lunch, while the millennial rolls in at sunset to post artsy renderings of the surrounding park bathed in the perfect light. More often than not, never these contented four shall meet. Your sweat equity helps create this tapestry of joy — you are the thread that binds each of these users. You may not always get the credit you deserve, but I see you parks and rec. And if anyone says parks and rec ain’t critical community infrastructure, then I challenge them to move to a community that doesn’t have it. So, friends, parkies and fellow foot soldiers on a long march for better parks and better communities, take a few minutes this week and this winter to reflect on the values, value, and voice of your organization. And don’t for a second let [anyone] think they got anything on us.

BAR BAR A T ULIPAN E, C AE President and CEO 8

Parks & Recreation

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 2377 Belmont Ridge Rd. | Ashburn, VA 20148 2 703.858.0784 |

NRPA’S MISSION: To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Roslyn Johnson

Chair of the Board of Directors Leon T. Andrews, Jr.

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Greenbelt, Maryland

National League of Cities Washington, D.C.

Chair-Elect Jack Kardys Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department Miami, Florida

Past Chair Stephen Eckelberry Bartlett Park District Bartlett, Illinois

Treasurer Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

Herman Parker City of San Diego, California, Park and Recreation Department San Diego, California

Ian Proud

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

Molly Stevens

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael Abbaté, FASLA City of Portland Parks and Recreation Portland, Oregon

The Annie E. Casey Foundation Baltimore, Maryland

Xavier Urrutia City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Dr. Howell Wechsler

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

LIFE TRUSTEES Beverly D. Chrisman

Neelay Bhatt PROS Consulting Indianapolis, Indiana

Hayden Brooks

Lexington, South Carolina

Anne S. Close Fort Mill, South Carolina

James H. Evans New York, New York

Rosemary Hall Evans Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

American Realty Corporation Austin, Texas

Earl T. Groves

Kong Chang

Charles E. Hartsoe, Ph.D.

City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Saint Paul, Minnesota

Kevin Coyle


Nonet T. Sykes

Alliance for a Healthier Generation New York, New York

National League of Cities Washington, D.C.


Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center Austin, Texas

Jesús Aguirre

Leon T. Andrews, Jr.


Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department Miami, Florida

PlayPower Williamsport, Pennsylvania

National Recreation and Park Association Ashburn, Virginia


Jack Kardys

Secretary Jesús Aguirre

President and CEO Barbara Tulipane, CAE


Gastonia, North Carolina Richmond, Virginia

Harry G. Haskell Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania


National Wildlife Federation Washington, D.C.

Kathryn A. Porter

Stephen Eckelberry

Perry J. Segura

Bartlett Park District Carol Stream, Illinois

New Iberia, Louisiana

Richard Gulley

Round Hill, Virginia

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Balboa Park Conservancy San Diego, California

Eugene A. Young, CPRP


Mendham, New Jersey

R. Dean Tice

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Ensuring Our Parks’ Future It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. — President Harry S. Truman The process of planning a park’s future is truly a team effort that should encourage ideas and suggestions from many diverse voices. What’s more, it shouldn’t matter who receives the credit for those ideas. Our cover story, “Learning + Play = Sandorf Park” on page 42, offers a behind-the-scenes look at this year’s project in Indianapolis, Indiana. Located on the southeast side of the city, Sandorf Park has been serving its citizens since 1959. Writer Paula Jacoby-Garrett goes one-on-one with the project’s planning team to learn more about the specific needs of the community, creative design plan, as well as some of the challenges and concerns they’re addressing regarding the project’s revitalization process. Next, contributors Deborah Cohen, MD, MPH, and Bing Han, Ph.D., discuss the benefits of assessing how much people utilize their local parks in the article, “Measuring the Use of Public Neighborhood Parks,” on page 48. These experts share the types of data that would be most valuable to park departments, including park-user characteristics like gender, age group and race/ethnicity. What’s more, a key benefit for conducting such research is the fact that it gives park departments more accountability by showing the public and elected officials the return on their investment. Also, enclosed with this issue is NRPA’s 2018 Economic Impact Report. This report speaks to the financial power generated through the field of parks and recreation, and it is a must-read for everyone in this field. When it comes to ensuring the future of our parks, one thing is for certain: neither one person nor one agency can do it alone. It requires thoughtful planning and collective input from our park and rec agencies, government officials and, most importantly, our citizens.

GINA MULLINS-COHEN Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing Editorial Director

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PRESIDENT AND CEO Barbara Tulipane, CAE VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLISHING, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gina Mullins-Cohen EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sonia Myrick EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Catrina Belt PUBLICATION DESIGN Creative By Design SENIOR SALES MANAGER EASTERN REGION AND EUROPE Kip Ongstad 703.858.2174 SALES MANAGER WESTERN REGION AND ASIA Michelle Dellner 949.248.1057 MAGAZINE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Keith Anderson Gerald Brown Ernest Burkeen Brendan Daley Anthony-Paul Diaz Ryan Eaker Robert García Kathleen Gibi Sandra Gonzales Tim Herd Brian Johnson Todd Lehman Sam Mendelsohn Maria Nardi Lisa Paradis Gil Peñalosa Vic Richard Dr. Kevin Riley Karla Rivera Paula Sliefert Anne-Marie Spencer Stephen Springs Randy Wiger

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Research The Economic Power of Local Parks and Rec By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.



hese are challenging times for park and recreation professionals. Eight years into an economic recovery and park and recreation leaders have to fight harder than ever before to keep their already limited funding in place. Last month, these pages featured an article that demonstrated that local park and recreation agency funding in 2013 was 7 percent below that of 2003, after adjusting for inflation. Our nation’s population grew 9 percent over the same 10-year period. While elected and appointed government officials agree parks and recreation is a valuable service, they are likely to view park and recreation agency funding as one of the most discretionary budget lines in their city, town or county. This becomes particularly acute during challenging fiscal times when local government officials target parks and recreation for the greatest budget cuts. But, there is a tremendous cost to these “savings.” Taking dollars away from parks and recreation deprives people of gathering places to meet with friends and family, open spaces to exercise and reconnect with nature or community resources where they can get a nutritious meal. In addition, cutting back on park and recreation budgets harms economic activity in the community. Several years ago, NRPA published the first-ever nationwide study on the economic benefits of local public park and recreation agency spending. That report found that in 2013 alone, local park and recreation agencies’ operations and capital spending were responsible for nearly $140 billion in economic activity and nearly 1 million jobs. This report empowered park and recreation professionals and advocates to speak with authority about the economic benefits of parks and recreation. NRPA and George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis joined forces

12 Parks & Recreation

once again to update this landmark study. The new study, included with this issue of Parks & Recreation magazine, finds that local park and recreation agencies were responsible for more than $154 billion in economic activity and just over 1.1 million jobs in 2015. These estimates reflect the direct, indirect and induced effects resulting from $31 billion in operations spending and more than $23 billion in capital expenditures made during the year. The new report also features similar estimates of economic impact and jobs generated for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Within many of these states, that impact is rather impressive. For example, operations and capital spending at California’s local park and recreation agencies resulted in nearly $16 billion of economic activity and was responsible for more than 118,000 jobs. Following California, the states enjoying the greatest economic benefit from local parks and recreation are Illinois, Texas, Florida and New York. What makes these estimates even more powerful is that they are conservative and do not reflect many of the other ways that parks and recreation drives economic activity and prosperity in a region. Beyond the impact of local park and recreation agency spending, other critical economic impact contributions from public parks include:

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Visitor spending: Many local park and recreation agency amenities spur tourism to their respective locales, generating significant economic activity, including (but not limited to) increased sales at local restaurants/bars and hotels. Health and wellness: Parks and recreation promotes improved physical and mental health. This not only helps people feel better, but can also help lower medical and insurance costs for the people taking advantage of those facilities and activities. Conservation and resiliency: Park and recreation agencies’ protection of land, water, trees, open spaces and wildlife improves air and water quality in communities. Through effective land management methods and green infrastructure investments, parks and recreation makes communities more resilient to natural disasters, reducing costs associated with disaster recovery and insurance premiums. Property values. Economic research has demonstrated consistently that homes and properties located near parklands have higher values than those farther away. Higher home values not only benefit the owners of these properties, but also add to the tax base of local governments. Another way parks and recreation drives economic activity is by its ability to recruit

and retain business as it improves the quality of life in communities. A recent NRPA study of public officials ( localofficials) finds that economic development is their chief concern, but it also is something to which they typically do not see parks and recreation as being a critical contributor. This represents a perception gap, as quality of life is a key factor for regions in their efforts to recruit and retain both business and high-quality workers. Later this spring, NRPA will be releasing another study conducted by the researchers at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis that takes a closer look at how park and recreation agencies and their leaders are playing an active role in their communities’ economic development activity.

…local park and recreation agencies were responsible for more than $154 billion in

US Patent D785,269 S.

economic activity and just over 1.1 million jobs in 2015. Policymakers and elected officials at all levels of government should take notice and support greater and more stable taxpayer funding for parks and recreation. Local park and recreation agencies not only help raise the standard of living in our neighborhoods, towns and cities, but they also spark economic activity that can have ripple effects well beyond the initial expenditure by creating jobs and prosperity throughout our nation. I encourage you to read the full report included with this issue of Parks & Recreation magazine, but do not let it stop there. Share the report — also available at — with key stakeholders in your city, town or county. It is critical for your local government officials, business leaders, the media and the public to appreciate that parks and recreation not only is a vital resource that improves our communities through health and wellness, conservation and social equity, but also drives economic activity. Your work and that of 370,000 professionals in our industry make these communities flourish for all. Also, soon the NRPA research team will be able to provide an estimate of a park and recreation agency’s economic impact from its spending. With this new tool, park and recreation professionals can share a similar message about their own agency’s spending. Look for more information about this new member benefit in an upcoming issue of Parks & Recreation magazine.

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NRPA Park Pulse Each month, through a poll of Americans that is focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse will help to tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted, and with this month’s poll, we asked Americans if they want inclusive play options at community playgrounds.

Americans Want Inclusive Play Options at Community Playgrounds Nearly 9 in 10 Americans say communities should offer all-inclusive play options at playgrounds.

70% of Americans say having play options to accommodate all abilities is extremely or very important. More than 90% of parents believe communities should provide playground equipment to accommodate children who are abled and differently abled in terms of physical and cognitive abilities. The National Recreation and Park Association Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research ( among 1,018 nationally representative U.S. adults, ages 18+, between January 22nd and January 29th, 2018 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population 18 and older.

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Member to Member You Have My Word on It: Signage in City Parks By Peter Harnik

ATTENTION: READ THIS SIGN. THANK YOU. During our four-year study of 175 neighborhood parks in 25 cities across the United States, we never saw a sign quite as useless as that one, but we came close, and some of the signs we did see left us speechless. “No Profanity” was a good one. And “THIS IS A GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP ZONE. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY!” And “No Bully Zone.” Parks without any signs are certainly deficient, but parks with useless or annoying signs can be cluttered, alienating or even counter-productively infuriating. On the other hand, parks with great signs


can lift spirits, educate users, build solidarity and be downright entertaining. The purpose of this National Study of Neighborhood Parks, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was twofold: (a) to discover whether there are disparities in management practices and usership between parks in high- and lowincome areas, and (b) to identify which factors seem to be associated with greater physical activity in parks. The factors ranged from the amount of acreage to the number of facilities, and from the characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood to the level of programming. Although evaluation of signage was not a primary criterion, it turns out that it has an impact. Most signs are dry, no-nonsense prohibitions: “NO DOGS ALLOWED” and “NO DRINKING, NO GLASS BOTTLES, NO LITTERING. LEASHED DOGS ONLY.” Others try to sound more ominous and punitive; one sign in English and Spanish, reads, “ANTI-DRUG ZONE. ATTENTION: ANY PERSON ARRESTED IN THIS AREA FOR SELLING HEROIN, COCAINE, METHAMPHETAMINE OR PCP WILL BE SUBJECT TO ONE ADDITIONAL YEAR IN PRISON IF FOUND GUILTY.”

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In contrast are signs with softer, explanatory tones: “DUE TO SHORT FIELD DISTANCE MEN’S SOFTBALL AND TEENAGE BASEBALL IS NOT PERMITTED,” “Attention: Our Children Play Here! Please Walk Your Dog Elsewhere or You Will Be Fined,” or the cuter “Young Lungs at Play. This is a Tobacco-Free Zone.” And, some are hortatory and encouraging, attempting to dispel the “us vs. them” mentality: “If you want to lose it…then move it,” declares one sign promoting Zumba classes, while, another says, “Welcome to the Mayor’s Mile. 4 TIMES AROUND THE PLAYING FIELD EQUALS 1 MILE.” Employing the Right Tone An analysis of hundreds of park signs revealed seven basic categories. There are signs that: • give the name of the park



Enjoy the...andOutdoors Keep It Clean


• provide wayfinding information (including maps, destinations, restrooms, food) • relay educational information (including historical and environmental facts) • promote programs (including events and courses) • offer general encouragement (including promotion of park activities and fitness tips) • prohibit activities (including general rules and time restrictions) • applaud generosity (including identification of sponsors and donors) Finding the best tone for an urban park sign is not easy. Too mild and it may be ignored; too tough and it can engender anger and spite. Unfortunately, as the number of park employees declines, and as parks have fewer and fewer paid professionals to uphold rules and etiquette (and answer questions), more and more of those responsibilities fall to inanimate signs. Ironically, this is occurring just as the number of immigrant languages in many communities is proliferating. (Some signs in the Los Angeles Metro system are now in nine languages.) Even when the reason for the message is evident, there is only so much that a sign can do. Despite the best of intentions — “Surfaces and play surfaces may become HOT and cause burns. Check for hot surfaces prior to playing on playground” — many people will still have to learn life lessons through the school of hard knocks. Meanwhile, more signs mean more ex

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Member to Member

Welcome to the Mayor’s Mile. 4 TIMES AROUND THE PLAYING FIELD EQUALS 1 MILE pense, more park clutter and more opportunities for graffiti. A comparison between park and shopping center signs is instructive. Although shopping centers also have stringent rules of conduct, those regulations are rarely posted in the kind of stark lettering and unwelcoming terminology usually found in parks. (Of course, shopping centers, unlike most parks, have uniformed guards to supplement their written rules.) Dogs are a flashpoint in parks, probably because of the sharp growth in the nation’s canine population and people’s changing expectations. Most communities don’t beat around the bush: from Lincoln, Nebraska’s matter-of-fact “Leash and Clean Up After Your Dog. It’s the Law”; to Los Angeles’ scientific “Dog defecation must be removed immediately by owners under penalty of law.” But not all signs are restrictive or punitive. Many are like positive advertisements: “Healthy Parks, Healthy People. Take a Walk in the Park with SF Rec and Parks.” Or, “We’re Ready for Supper! We’re Serving a Hot Meal to All Children Ages 5 – 18.” Lincoln, Nebraska, seems to have a policy that its park signs be respectful and helpful to the populace: “Attention Practice Teams: If field is chalked, you can practice but please keep off the chalk. Thank You.” Lincoln also posts signs giving web addresses for four relevant public and private bird organizations in various metro birding areas, and it also 18 Parks & Recreation

rewards park sponsors with their name on an “Adopt-a-Lincoln Landscape” sign. Lincoln is also part of the growing trend to educate users about the ecological benefits of parks and about some new design elements within them. The city has a detailed “Rain to Recreation” poster-type sign with a textual and artistic explanation of park features that help reduce water pollution (plus the parks department logo). San Francisco does something similar at Jefferson Square Park, first giving park rules in a respectful style, followed by a detailed description of the city’s water conservation protocol within its parks. (Even if the signs are too wordy for the average recreationalist, every educational opportunity helps.) Acknowledging Funding Sources Finally, there are signs that gently bring up the issue of funding, alerting park users to the source of the amenity they are enjoying. While funding traditionally has been an opaque process that makes parks appear to be the magical largesse of government, the recent tightening of municipal budgets has made many park departments vulnerable to and fearful of cutbacks. Some have become more outspoken, pushing users to think twice about the facilities at their disposal. A sign at Alvey Park in Kansas City has two federal logos and reads: “National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, Land and Water Conservation Fund.

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This park was supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps states and communities provide outdoor recreation and open space for all.” And, an outstanding (although wordy) sign at San Francisco’s Bernal Heights Park provides a description and a map, and then highlights the different school and park bond measures that the public passed to create the park. Conclusion Signs do appear to influence people, even if they often seem to be ignored and sometimes scorned. Using regression analysis, the Neighborhood Parks study determined that parks with signs promoting physical activity have a higher usership than parks without those messages (after adjusting for acreage, population density and poverty). Even parks with signs prohibiting certain types of physical activity, such as skateboarding or bicycling, get a bump in usership! Like the famous experiments that show the healing power of placebos, maybe it isn’t so much what a park sign says as the fact that its very existence shows that a park department cares enough to communicate with its park users. For instance:

THANKS FOR READING THIS. HAVE A GREAT DAY Peter Harnik, former Founding Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, is a member of the National Study of Neighborhood Parks (

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Member to Member

‘Go Green With Us’ Tennessee State Parks’ sustainable practices program By Kelsey Davis


Photos by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

n November 2017, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)’s Go Green Steering Committee launched guidelines for its Go Green With Us program. The program, which began in January 2015 as a recycling initiative within Tennessee State Parks, has grown to encompass all aspects of sustainability. Its mission is “to protect and preserve our State Parks through resource conservation, sustainable operations and recycling.” With these guidelines, Tennessee State Parks is not only setting a standard for sustainable practices, but is also working to secure recognition for the many environmentally conscious procedures that its parks already have in place.

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The “Go Green With Us Guidelines” provide environmentally friendly practices for both park staff and visitors to implement throughout all park operations. These principles were developed in collaboration with individuals from the Tennessee State Parks, the Office of Sustainable Practices and TDEC to ensure that all aspects of sustainability were captured and targeted. The guidelines are divided into 10 categories, ranging from recycling, energy efficiency and water conservation, to hospitality and maintenance operations, and contain approximately 100 prerequisite actions and 127 recommended actions. There is also a recognition component that will allow the parks to achieve a certification level each year. Parks will be rated and awarded a certification level based on their overall sustainability and how they abide by the guidelines. Examples of prerequisites within the guidelines include creating an interpretive program to educate the public on a “Go Green” topic, using occupancy motion sensors for indoor lighting, sourcing local food and using Green Seal-certified cleaning products throughout the park. The prerequisites are basic, common-sense sustainability tasks that most parks already perform. The remaining guidelines, or recommendations, are slightly more advanced. These include suggestions, such as using environmentally friendly methods (for example, goats) for clearing invasive species, installing green roofs on appropriate buildings, introducing a A Norris Dam State Park sign contains some items of trash collected on the banks of Norris Lake and details decomposition timeframes.

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rooftop solar installation and composting food waste from restaurants. The guidelines incorporate other sustainability programs and certifications into the suggestions for certain categories. For example, the parks with golf courses earn and maintain the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program certification. They also participate in the Groundwater Guardian Green program, through which they can minimize the potentially harmful impacts of golf course operations. They do this by using electric mowers and golf carts and with targeted watering and digital irrigation monitoring. Parks with restaurants participate in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge, which encourages participants to divert, donate and compost food waste. Parks with marinas are Certified Clean

Junior Ranger campers in the Johnsonville State Historic Park Camp learn about sustainability.

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Parks & Recreation


Photos by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Member to Member

Marinas, which means they implement best management practices that help to prevent and reduce water pollution. This March, the parks will complete their first electronic application to earn their initial level of Go Green Recognition. The points system is structured like a LEED certification with bronze, silver, gold and platinum tiers of sustainability. Each park will apply to the program with documented completion of each prerequisite and guideline to support its sustainability activities. The applications will be reviewed by Go Green With Us Committee members, a site visit will be conducted to verify their efforts and, following that visit, each park will be awarded the earned level of recognition. Each spring, the parks will be re-evaluated to either maintain or move to their next tier of Go Green Recognition. As the parks implement more Go Green Guidelines over time, they will climb the tiers of sustainability. Parks that reach a level of sustainability will receive a Go Green With Us certificate to display inside the park office. The certificate, containing a brief description of the statewide program and the park’s current level of sustainability achievement, will be mounted in a unique frame made from upcycled or reclaimed materials. This way, all park visitors can see the park’s sustainability efforts and, hopefully, be encouraged to do the same while visiting. The Go Green recognition level will also be shared on the Tennessee State Parks’ website and the park’s individual Go Green webpage, which highlights the park’s environmentally friendly measures.

Recycling bins (top) and detailed signs about what food items can be composted (left) make it easy for Tennessee State Park patrons and staff to help with the recycling efforts. 22 Parks & Recreation

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Photos by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

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Signs, like this one about “How to Compost,” help to educate visitors about how they can be sustainable at home.

“Our Tennessee State Parks Go Green With Us program was born from a desire to strengthen our efforts to make the park system more green and environmentally sustainable,” says Robin Peeler, the Tennessee State Parks Go Green coordinator. “It has been a labor of love to watch the Go Green With Us program grow from mandatory recycling in the parks in 2015 to the Go Green Guidelines that we launched in November 2017. Putting these guidelines in place, as well as the park recognition component, will, hopefully, lessen our impact on the planet and help to educate both visitors and staff about the importance of being environmentally responsible. I am excited to watch the program grow and see how we can continue to improve and protect our natural resources.” Some of the benefits already being seen from the program include increased monetary savings, increased visitation rates, greater efficiency of operations and reduced solid waste. Kelsey Davis is Environmental Scientist 3 for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservations Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices (

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Parks & Recreation


Photo by Emma Cassidy


Farming in Parks (aka #FarmPark) By Kate Clabaugh


t NRPA, our Commit to Health campaign has created a significant foundation of work in fighting hunger and improving nutrition for our nation’s youth. Park and recreation agencies are the second-largest provider of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) summer and afterschool meal programs nationwide. But, we’ve barely tilled the soil (pun intended) on what USDA is best known for — agriculture. We are just starting to assess where we believe collaboration between park and recreation agencies and local agriculture is possible, and we hope to learn more about current projects and initiatives in this space and create new opportunities from a federal level. We want local parks to be part of a system with local farmers, producers and distributors to assist in the execution of a nationwide healthy food pipeline. Farm Bill Reauthorization: The Role of Parks and Recreation The reauthorization of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) is an opportunity for Congress to consider the role local park and recreation agencies can play in creating and enhancing community food systems. Therefore, NRPA supports initiatives and programs authorized by the Farm Bill to support activities in the following areas: Allow use of public lands by local

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farmers and producers to grow in park space and develop educational curriculums through gardening. Increase access to fresh, local foods through the availability of farmer’s markets at recreation centers. Address food insecurity in communities by offering outreach and nutrition education activities available under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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Specifically, NRPA asks Congress to expand the eligibility of the Farm to School Program so local government and nonprofit organizations operating USDA’s summer and afterschool meal sites can apply to receive funding and to increase overall mandatory funding for the program by $10 million. The Farm to School Network (www.farmtoschool. org) supports this expansion and encourages park and recreation agencies to consider the role they can play in connecting their out-of-school time curriculum with their local agriculture industry. NRPA’s public policy team will continue to track opportunities in the upcoming Farm Bill debate to bolster the work of park and recreation agencies in this space, but we need to hear from you! Do you lease your park land out to local farmers to grow on? Have you been incorporating gardening, composting and related activities into your out-of-school

time program? Does your agency work with your local land-grant university or 4-H program to encourage youth in your community to pursue agriscience careers? Do you use farming in your park space as a green infrastructure tool? Email

NRPA’s senior government affairs manager Kate Clabaugh ( Interested in sharing your #FarmPark story with your members of Congress? Become a Park Champion and advocate that parks have a role to play in the upcoming

“Dear NRPA Members, Farm to school enriches communities by connecting them with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education sites. Farm to school empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and contributing to vibrant communities. In this way, NRPA and the National Farm to School Network both prioritize community health, wellness and social equity. Farm to school implementation differs by location, but always includes one or more of the following: • Procurement: Local foods are purchased, promoted and served in the cafeteria or as a snack or taste-test; • Education: Students participate in education activities related to agriculture, food, health or nutrition; and • School gardens: Students engage in hands-on learning through gardening. School gardens are one of the three core elements of farm to school, and the benefits of these green spaces are plentiful. Gardens create positive learning environments, increase children’s willingness to try new fruits and vegetables, and serve as a valuable tool for engaging students in a number of academic subjects. Moreover, school gardens can be engaging learning spaces for all students. They function as interdisciplinary classrooms that welcome every type of learner, regardless of age or ability. Unlike traditional classrooms, school gardens help level the playing field for students with physical disabilities, learning and behavior challenges, and other special classroom needs by empowering everyone to contribute to the process of growing food from seed to harvest. Recognizing the role of NRPA members in their communities, it is prudent that NRPA members understand how farm to school supports and furthers this important role. First, many schools do not have space for school gardens as learning and nutrition opportunities. Allowing use of park space by schools to develop gardens and corresponding curriculum for students would increase these learning opportunities. Secondly, gardens in park spaces would also provide opportunities for children attending summer or afterschool programs, sometimes held at park and recreational agency facilities and thus continue these learning opportunities outside normal school hours.

Farm Bill. Contact NRPA’s advocacy and outreach manager, Jayni Rasmussen (, to learn more. Kate Clabaugh, MSW, is NRPA’s Senior Government Affairs Manager (

Lastly, park and recreation staff and agencies can support advocacy efforts to expand the USDA Farm to School Grant program. While communities have already benefited greatly from this program, demand significantly outweighs current available funding. Congress needs to build on the success of farm to school by strengthening the program’s scope and by providing an additional $10 million per year in mandatory funding so that more of these programs can be incubated around the country. Adoption of the Farm to School Act (S. 1767/H.R. 3687) will accomplish the following goals: 1. Increase annual mandatory funding from $5 million to $15 million. An increase in funding is essential to build on the USDA Farm to School Grant program’s success. Demand for the program is over five times higher than current available funding. In the first four years of the program, USDA received more than 1,600 applications requesting over $100 million, and was able to make only 221 awards from $20 million. Funding the program at $15 million annually will better support the high demand of this important program. 2. Improve program participation from beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. By providing technical assistance and research to a broad range of potential applicants, the grant program will encourage increased awareness of and participation in farm to school activities among all agricultural producers. 3. Fully include summer food service program sites and afterschool programs in the program. The program’s scope must include summer food service program sites and afterschool programs. These provide meals to millions of children in low-income areas, ensuring access to nutritious meals after school lets out. The National Farm to School Network looks forward to working with NRPA to build healthier communities. For more information on NFSN or to sign up to support the Farm to School Act of 2017, please visit our webpage at Gratefully, Maximilian Merrill Policy Director National Farm to School Network”

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Parks & Recreation



Limited Duty Applicable to Overdose Cardiac Arrest By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.


ith the spread of opioid abuse nationwide, some parks and public areas have become venues for opioid use, which may result in an onsite overdose. The opioid crisis has been identified as one of the Top Trends for Parks and Recreation in 2018:

As a result, many public park and recreation agencies are grappling with an appropriate response to a potentially life-threatening opioid overdose scenario on their premises. Some agencies have considered having Nalaxone readily available on-site. Nalaxone (sold under the brand name Narcan) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. Nalaxone does not create any intoxicating side effects. On the contrary, it will not have any effect on an individual who has not overdosed on opioids. At a cost of approximately $30 per dose, first responders are spending more and more resources on the overdose reversal drug Nalaxone. Some local governments 26 Parks & Recreation

have spent tens of thousands of dollars on Nalaxone ( health-shots/2017/08/08/541626627/ first-responders-spending-more-on-over​ dose-reversal-drug). If Naloxone is made available on-site, park and recreation agencies may then have to assume the considerable cost and administrative burden of training their personnel to properly identify and administer Nalaxone to a nonresponsive individual on-site who may have overdosed on opioids. A nonresponsive individual, however, may or may not be in apparent cardiac arrest from an opioid overdose. Moreover, an individual may be nonresponsive because of a condition totally

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unrelated to opioids, including a serious head trauma or other medical condition. When one assumes a duty that would not otherwise occur under existing law, one may assume a responsibility to execute that duty in a non-negligent fashion. Accordingly, once park and recreation agencies get into the business of providing Nalaxone, let alone having their personnel administer these drugs, an assumed duty must be implemented in a non-negligent fashion. In so doing, if it would lead to any unreasonable delay in prompt summoning of competent medical attention (i.e., calling 911), the agency may be worse off from a liability perspective. Absent a statute expressly imposing a legal duty to do so, which is highly unlikely, the law would not generally require a public park and recreation agency to intervene or provide treatment in a potentially life-threatening situation, like an opioid overdose. On the contrary, the

law would require the public park and recreation agency and its personnel to avoid any conduct that would aggravate a potentially life-threatening situation. Leave Nalaxone to EMS Accordingly, any direct treatment and response and intervention is better left to local law enforcement and emergency medical services (EMS) who are better trained and equipped to properly handle a possible opioid overdose. Many local first responders now carry Nalaxone on emergency calls. Moreover, once the 911 call is made, the applicable landowner duty of emergency care for the agency is satisfied. Any subsequent unreasonable delay due to the negligence of the 911call center or first responders are likely immune from any liability. In general, governmental immunity would apply

to liability claims associated with unreasonable or inadequate general police protection and emergency services. Good Samaritan immunity would not apply to a public park and recreation agency because the agency already has a landowner/invitee legal relationship with those using its facilities. Subject to jurisdictional variations, in general, a Good Samaritan statute provides limited immunity from negligence liability to individuals who try to assist an imperiled stranger; i.e., someone with whom they have no legal relationship and, therefore, no duty to rescue. As landowners, however, park and recreation agencies have a very limited legal duty to rescue imperiled invitees on the premises once a life-threatening situation becomes apparent. To satisfy the applicable duty to rescue, park and recreation agencies should

be able to promptly respond to a wide variety of life-threatening situations, including an opioid overdose. The appropriate response, however, does not involve any sort of medical intervention or treatment. On the contrary, the appropriate agency response should be simple and straightforward: prompt summoning of competent medical attention; i.e., call 911 to summon local EMS. As a result, in response to a possible opioid overdose, the administration of a prescription medication, like Nalaxone, by nonmedical park and recreation personnel may be ill advised and, certainly, not required by law in the exercise of reasonable care under the circumstances. Response Training Priorities Any training of park and recreation personnel to respond a potential opioid



Call: (541) 496-3541



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Parks & Recreation



overdose should, therefore, ensure the prompt summoning of competent medical attention to the scene. Accordingly, a public park and recreation agency would be better served by training that includes ongoing communications and drills between the recreation agency and local first responders to ensure familiarity with recreation sites and a rapid response by EMS to any life-threatening situation. In so doing, a public park and recreation agency would avoid the significant administrative cost and burden associated

require employers to provide information and training to workers on methods used to control occupational exposure, which would include appropriate precautions for the proper disposal of discarded needles and syringes (see Bloodborne Pathogens and Needlestick Prevention,​ bornepathogens/otherresources.html and “OSHA Rule Applies to Ocean Lifeguard Position & Mouth-to-Mouth Resuscitation Task,” http://cehdclass.gmu. edu/jkozlows/lawarts/07JUL92.pdf).

As landowners, however, park and recreation agencies have a very limited legal duty to rescue imperiled invitees on the premises once a life-threatening situation becomes apparent. with quasi-EMS training and duties for recreation personnel to provide and administer Nalaxone. In addition to training that would ensure a prompt response to an opioid overdose emergency, park and recreation agencies must also ensure personnel are properly trained in dealing with an occupational safety and health hazard associated with opioid abuse in public places, specifically discarded needles and syringes (https://www.nbcd​​ ringe-Pollution-Threat-434924603.html and​ reation-magazine/2017/june/confront​ ing-the-opioid-outbreak-in-our-parks/). In the course of inspection and cleanup of park and recreation sites during this ongoing opioid crisis, maintenance workers are likely to encounter discarded needles and syringes with potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Regulations, promulgated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 29 CFR 1910.1030, 28 Parks & Recreation

AED & CPR Analogy Within the context of an emergency response to a life-threatening situation, Nalaxone can be viewed as an intervention or treatment analogous to the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). An AED is a portable electronic device that can reestablish effective heart rhythm in an individual experiencing cardiac arrest. Unlike the administration of a prescription medication, like Nalaxone, AEDs are simple to use for the ordinary layperson and are becoming ubiquitous in many public places. The applicable law for responding to potentially life-threatening situations on-site involving AED and CPR intervention is fairly well-settled. These general principles would apply to any potentially life-threatening situation, including a possible cardiac arrest associated with an opioid overdose or some cause unrelated to opioids. Accordingly, in the absence of reported court opinions involving an opioid

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overdose in a park or recreation facility, existing AED and CPR case law defining an appropriate emergency response to a cardiac arrest in a recreational facility is certainly relevant and informative on the issue of Nalaxone intervention. In general, these AED and CPR cases have reiterated the applicable legal duty of reasonable care for landowners in addressing a potentially life-threatening situation; i.e., prompt summoning of competent medical attention — a 911 call for EMS. Unless expressly required by statute, CPR and/or use of a readily available AED would not be required. No AED Duty In the case of Wing v. Butterfield Country Club, 2017 IL App (2d) 160900-U, | 2017 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1294, 2017 WL 2805120 (7/27/2017), plaintiff Wing claimed defendant country club “owed a common-law duty to exercise ordinary care in the provision, control, placement, and use of automated external defibrillation (AED) devices at its facility.” On February 26, 2014, plaintiff decedent, Wallace E. Wing, III, was playing paddle tennis at the defendant’s facilities. While playing paddle tennis, plaintiff decedent Wing suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Wallace Wing died of an acute myocardial infarction on that day. In the complaint, plaintiff alleged the defendant country club “knew or should have known that plaintiff decedent suffered from a sudden cardiac arrest.” Moreover, plaintiff alleged the country club “was in possession of various AED devices at its facilities and that its employees were trained to use, supply, and store the devices properly.” As a result, plaintiff claimed defendant had a “duty to render aid to plaintiff decedent by administering an AED device when plaintiff decedent suffered his sudden cardiac arrest.” In response to plaintiff ’s allegations

of negligence, defendant country club argued it owed decedent Wing no duty to do any of the following: (1) diagnose a medical condition of cardiac arrest, (2) possess, maintain or make accessible an AED device, (3) train its employees in the use of an AED device, or (4) administer the AED device to one of its members who goes into cardiac arrest. The trial court agreed with defendant country club and dismissed Wing’s lawsuit. Wing appealed.

purchase of AED devices confirmed “the foreseeability of an injury like that suffered by plaintiff decedent”; however, the appeals court did not agree that the mere purchase of AED devices should create a

common-law duty of care to use an available AED device in the treatment of sudden cardiac arrest. According to the appeals court, the burden of such an AED duty of care would discourage businesses

No Duty, No Liability To “state a claim for negligence,” the appeals court noted “a plaintiff must plead a duty owed by a defendant to that plaintiff, breach of that duty, and injury proximately caused by that breach of duty.” In determining whether a defendant owes a plaintiff a duty, the appeals court would consider the following: (1) whether the plaintiff ’s injury was reasonably foreseeable, (2) the likelihood of injury, (3) the magnitude of the burden of guarding against injury, and (4) the consequences of placing a burden on defendant. Based on these factors, if the court determined “there is no duty,” then the court would find “a plaintiff cannot recover.” In this instance, plaintiff had argued, “it was reasonably foreseeable that an individual may suffer a sudden cardiac arrest when engaged in strenuous athletic activities at defendant’s facilities.” Moreover, plaintiff claimed, “defendant’s possession of AED devices at its facilities seems to suggest that the likelihood of cardiovascular-related injuries [was] a likely occurrence as well.” Having purchased an AED device for its facility, plaintiff argued further that the defendant country club has assumed the legal burden to maintain and control AED devices. The appeals court agreed that it was foreseeable that a cardiac arrest might occur at defendant’s facilities. Further, the appeals court acknowledged defendant’s

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Parks & Recreation



from purchasing AED devices in the first place to avoid increased liability exposure. The appeals court, therefore, found “no common-law duty owed to the plaintiff ” to place, maintain and use an available AED device. Restatement Duty of Care On appeal, plaintiff had further argued that “section 314A Restatement (Second) of Torts, creates a common-law duty on defendant to render aid by administering an AED device to the plaintiff decedent.” (A Restatement is an authoritative treatise, issued by the American Law Institute, which summarizes the general common-law principles of traditional tort law in the United States. A Restatement does not have the force of law in and of itself, but it obtains legal authority when adopted by the courts.) As described by the appeals court, section 314A Restatement (Second) of Torts provided the following: The defendant is not required to take any action until he knows or has reason to know that the plaintiff is endangered, or is ill or injured. He is not required to take any action beyond that which is reasonable under the circumstances. In the case of an ill or injured person, he will seldom be required to do more than give such first aid as he reasonably can, and take reasonable steps to turn the sick man over to a physician, or to those who will look after him and see that medical assistance is obtained. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 314A, Comment f, at 120 (1965). Similarly, the appeals court noted that “a possessor of land who holds it open to the public is under a duty to members of the public to protect them against unreasonable risk of physical harm, and give them first aid after it knows or has reason to know that they are ill or injured.”  However, in the opinion of the appeals court, “[t]he use of a defibrillator requires specific training, and we believe that its use is far beyond the type of ‘first aid’ con30 Parks & Recreation

templated by Restatement section 314A.” As a result, the appeals court concluded defendant country club “owed plaintiff no common-law duty to use an AED device on plaintiff decedent.” [W]e cannot say that defendant in the present case had a common-law duty to use the AED device on plaintiff decedent as the use of such a device is not the type of first aid contemplated by the Restatement section 314A, even though plaintiff assures us that such a device is quite ‘foolproof.’ The appeals court, therefore, affirmed the judgment of the trial court dismissing Wing’s claim against the defendant country club.

According to the appeals court, CPR would be considered more than mere “first aid” because it requires training... No Skilled Treatment Required In the case of L.A. Fitness International, LLC. v. Mayer, 980 So.2d 550 (Fla.App. 4/23/2008), plaintiff Julianna Mayer alleged defendant fitness center had negligently failed to render aid during a medical emergency. Mayer’s father, Alessio Tringali, died because of a cardiac arrest he suffered while using a stepping machine at L.A. Fitness in Oakland Park, Florida. In response, L.A. Fitness argued that it had satisfied its duty to render assistance to the deceased as a matter of law when it promptly summoned professional medical assistance for him. A jury returned a verdict in favor of Mayer as the representative of her father’s estate. L.A. Fitness appealed.

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Robert Strayer, an L.A. Fitness sales representative, testified that he was sitting at his desk at the Oakland Park L.A. Fitness around 9 p.m. on April 3, 2003, when he heard someone call for help. Strayer got up from his desk, told the receptionist to call 911 and ran to the back of the gym. Strayer observed Alessio Tringali lying on his back surrounded by L.A. Fitness patrons. According to Strayer, Tringali was bleeding from a cut on his head and shaking from small convulsions. Strayer, who was certified in CPR, believed Tringali was having a seizure or a stroke. Because Strayer believed Tringali had fallen off a nearby stepping machine and may have sustained a concussion to his head or hurt his neck or back, he did not perform a “chin tilt” to open his airway, which is one of the first steps in CPR. Based on his observations and belief that Tringali was having a seizure or stroke, Strayer decided not to attempt CPR and possibly make matters worse. An EMT for the City of Oakland Park Fire Rescue testified she responded to L.A. Fitness with two other EMTs. The EMT testified that Fire Rescue received a call from L.A. Fitness at 9:18 p.m., and arrived at L.A. Fitness at 9:21 p.m. EMTs shocked the defendant with an AED at 9:21 p.m. and then again at 9:24 p.m. but were unable to re-establish a pulse. Medical experts testified that, more likely than not, Tringali would have been revived by paramedics if he had been given CPR by L.A, Fitness employees. On the other hand, these medical experts also testified that a layperson could easily confuse gasping with breathing and shaking of the head, as observed by Strayer, with seizures. To resolve this case, the appeals court would determine the nature and scope of the duty a health club or gym owes to a patron who is injured while exercising on its premises. In so doing, the appeals court found a “special relationship” existed between L.A. Fitness and its members. As a result, as with any business owner, L.A.

Fitness had a duty to use reasonable care in rendering aid to Tringali when he became ill or injured. In defining the scope and applicability of this duty of emergency care, the appeals court reiterated the following principle espoused in the Restatement of Torts (Second) § 314A “that a proprietor is under an ordinary duty of care to render aid to an invitee after he knows or has reason to know the invitee is ill or injured.” In so doing, the appeals court took note of comment (f) to the Restatement (Second) of Torts §. 314A: f. The defendant is not required to take any action until he knows or has reason to know that the plaintiff is endangered, or is ill or injured. He is not required to take any action beyond that which is reasonable under the circumstances. In the case of an ill or injured person, he will seldom be required to do more than give such first aid as he reasonably can, and take reasonable steps to turn the sick man over to a physician, or to those who will look after him and see that medical assistance is obtained. On appeal, L.A. Fitness argued that it had met the above-cited “Restatement” standard. L.A. Fitness claimed its employees immediately advised staff to call 911 when they heard a call for help. Moreover, when these employees checked on Tringali’s condition, they noted the cut on his head and the position of his back. As a result, the employees decided not to attempt CPR because Tringali appeared to be breathing, and moving him might worsen a possible head or neck injury. Based on these facts, L.A. Fitness claimed it had “fulfilled its common-law duty to render aid and secure medical assistance for Tringali.” As noted by the appeals court, “a business proprietor cannot ‘ignore’ an injured or incapacitated patron and must ‘take some minimal steps to safeguard’ him.” That being said, the appeals court acknowledged that these “minimal steps” would not include and “does not create a duty to perform medical rescue procedures on him”: Courts in other jurisdictions which have examined the issue of a business owner’s duty to injured patrons have generally held that a business owner satisfies its legal duty to come to the aid of a patron experiencing a medical emergency by summoning medical assistance within a reasonable time. They have declined to extend the duty of reasonable care to include providing medical care or medical rescue services. Moreover, the appeals court found the Restatement’s “first aid” obligation to provide “first aid” to invitees on the premises did not include “the duty to perform skilled treatment, such as CPR.” On the contrary, the appeals court found reasonable first aid “requires no more assistance than that which can be provided by an untrained person.” In accordance with this common understanding of the term, the appeals court found “first aid” may include calling for help; positioning a victim; controlling a victim’s bleeding by applying pressure; manually stabilizing the head of a blunt trauma victim so the head, neck and spine do not move and are kept in-line; and

applying cold packs to soft-tissue injuries, such as sprains and muscle contusions. According to the appeals court, CPR would be considered more than mere “first aid” because it requires training: Although the procedure for CPR is relatively simple and widely known as a major technique for saving lives, it nonetheless, requires training and re-certification. Unlike first responders, for whom performing CPR is routine, non-medical employees certified in CPR remain laymen and should have discretion in deciding when to utilize the procedure. As a result, under the circumstances of this case, the appeals court concluded “L.A. Fitness, through its employees, fulfilled its duty of reasonable care in rendering aid to the deceased by summoning paramedics within a reasonable time.” The appeals court, therefore, reversed the judgment of the trial court and, on remand, ordered the trial court to enter judgment in favor of defendant L.A. Fitness. James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D., is an Attorney and Associate Professor in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism at George Mason University ( Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to present):

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Parks & Recreation



Kevin Witte, CPRP, receives his Young Professional Fellowship plaque from Cindi Wright, chair of the NRPA Awards Committee, at last year’s conference in New Orleans.

And the Award Goes to… By Kevin Witte, CPRP


f you did not attend the 2017 Annual Conference in New Orleans, you missed out. NOLA was my third conference, and I think it was the best one I have been to yet. I attended interesting sessions, met lots of new people, and enjoyed the parks, facilities and culture of New Orleans. However, all those experiences almost did not happen. I was able to attend the conference as a Young Professional Fellow. Without that fellowship, I would have missed this amazing opportunity and the mentoring program. The Application Process Like many of you, I work in a modest-sized department. I am tasked with doing more with less, and all the other challenges we all seem to face in our daily lives as park and recreation professionals. My department has a training budget that allows for some great opportunities but only in-state. So, if I wanted to attend the NRPA conference, I would have to do so at my own expense. I attended the NRPA conferences in Las Vegas and St. Louis through a combination of volunteering at conference to help with my registration fee and getting some scholarships from my state association. During one of the monthly Young Professional

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Network conference calls, someone mentioned that the applications for the Young Professional Fellowship were available and they were encouraging people to apply. Following that call, I went online to www.nrpa. org and saw what an incredible opportunity the fellowship offered. Travel, hotel, conference registration and a mentor program, all in one award. The application is not something to be taken lightly. You are competing for one of four spots against other young professionals from across the nation. When completing the application, I focused on what the award would mean to me, how it would help my career and what set me apart from

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the crowd. There is a limit to how much you can write, so you need to tell your story while being direct. I highlighted the things I have done well in my career, such as being involved in NRPA and the state association, local awards and achievements and major programs with which I have been involved. I also shared how I thought I could improve as a professional and gave examples of areas where I would like to expand my knowledge and how that would help me reach my career goals. In addition, I reached out to past fellowship winners to hear about their experiences and asked them to review what I was writing. Receiving the Award Receiving the “congratulations” email is one of the best feelings, and the NRPA awards staff is wonderful. Part of the award was being paired with a mentor, and my mentor, who has been very involved with

NRPA for years, is very well-connected in the industry. He and I spoke many times leading up to the conference. He helped me plan my schedule and recommended meetings and sessions I should attend. While at conference, we met several times and shared stories and got to know each other better. I also got to know other fellows throughout the week. I’ve stayed in touch with many of the people I met while at conference. As a fellowship winner, you get to attend and be recognized at the fellowship and scholarship breakfast and the “Best of the Best” ceremony during conference. Your name will be published in the Parks & Recreation magazine and conference publications, and you get to see your name on the big screen during the opening reception. At a city council meeting, my director recognized me and stated that I was a great representation of the staff who work in my city. Being a fellow is

also a great addition to your résumé as you continue to advance in your career. Do not be discouraged if you don’t win your first year! There are only four spots, and you are competing against many talented young professionals. Many of the fellowship winners did not win the first year they applied, so the best advice I can give you is to keep applying and look for the areas of the application you can improve. If you do not get selected your first year, use it as motivation to continue to improve as a professional. Get your CPRP, ask for more opportunities at work, get involved in your state association, volunteer to chair a committee and, most importantly, get involved in NRPA. The easiest way to do that is to join the NRPA Young Professional Network (YPN). Many of the people in the NRPA YPN are former fellowship winners and can share tips that can help you win the next year. The YPN has a variety of proj-

ects and initiatives that can use your help and give you a leg up on your application the following year. At this point, I hope you are ready to apply for a fellowship for the 2018 Annual Conference in Indianapolis. The award application period is open now. Do not procrastinate. You need to work on your application and collect your letters of recommendation. Taking time to have a quality application will only increase your chances of joining the amazing group of young professional fellows. If you would like to hear more about my experience as a fellowship winner, how to get involved in the YPN or some advice on your application, feel free to reach out to me at Good luck with your application, and I look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis. Kevin Witte, CPRP, is Recreation Supervisor for Mountlake Terrace Recreation & Parks (kwitte@

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Photo by Mariella Ayala

Texas Park Sets Green Standard with Net Zero By Denton Ragland


s one of the most sustainable parks in the nation, Evelyn’s Park (https://, located in Bellaire, Texas, and just minutes away from downtown Houston, inspires the local community with a dynamic, sustainable green space. Surrounded by a sprawling urban landscape, Evelyn’s Park is setting the green standard for parks across the United States. Our park has been open for nearly a year, since Earth Day, April 22, 2017, and has made a name for itself by celebrating nature, enhancing the quality of life in the community and engaging families. The idea was to create a space that allows people to connect, not only to one another and their neighborhood, but also to their surroundings. To do this, park management dreamed of building a space the community could be proud of and that would inspire generations to come. The goal: to exemplify the very best in conservation by reaching “net zero” energy status for the park’s dayto-day operations.

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Benefits of Net Zero Net zero design is not a new concept, but it has been growing in momentum as more people look toward the future and the sustainability of our urban environments. The idea is simple — a building becomes net zero when it generates the same amount of energy it consumes. Here are some of the many benefits to achieving net zero energy status: 1. It’s good for the environment – It’s significant because it greatly decreases the need for fossil fuels, effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A building’s energy use is the largest single contributor to our carbon footprint

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— 40 percent by some estimates — so there’s a major opportunity to reduce our impact. By decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, we create a more resilient future for our children. 2. It’s good for people – Not only is net zero an ideal educational component for park programming, but it’s also proven to inspire people and enhance quality of life. Net zero results in cleaner air and promotes healthier living. 3. It’s good for business – In addition to saving money in energy costs and over a building’s equipment lifetime, net zero creates values for your business by improving property values, mitigating market risk and offering appealing tax incentives. Although the concept behind net zero is simple, implementation requires thoughtful and strategic design, construction, operation and maintenance. To accomplish

The Children’s Play Area at Evelyn’s Park provides an imaginative play space for children, comfortable, shaded seating for parents and easy access to a lawn area suitable for a variety of communitywide events.

Partners with Purpose With the goal of net zero in mind, Evelyn’s Park turned to Lake | Flato (, a nationally recognized sustainable architecture firm, to design the park. Our desire for the park’s office and event pavilion was to create something that incorporated the park’s natural surroundings. Facilities were artfully crafted to merge with the landscape and include features that are functional, beautiful and environmentally responsible. Lighting fixtures that emulate tree branches, building siding and shade elements that serve as armatures for plantings, children’s play areas incorporating original tree stumps and shade canopies from Texas Live Oaks are just some of the ways the park’s structures seamlessly integrate authentic character into the landscape. Once the design was in place, it was time to identify a sustainability partner that could make our net zero goal a reality. That’s where the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club® (www.gme​ came in. The organization’s mission is to invest in nonprofits to advance sustainability for people and the planet. It does this by funding a wide variety of solar and sustainability projects, including those focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and resource conservation. Evelyn’s Park went to the Sun Club with the idea for a large solar array, and together with Lake | Flato, they designed a system for the park’s office and event pavilion that would generate enough renewable energy for day-to-day operations. Taking our vision to the next level, the Sun Club’s expertise helped us create a sustainability solution that surpassed expectations. “In identifying rainwater capture and composting options, our team looked beyond the expected and delivered the exceptional,” says Mark Parsons, president, Green Mountain Energy Sun Club. With a donation of more than $300,000 from the Sun Club, the park incorporated additional features, knowing that doing so would lead Evelyn’s Park to become one of the most sustainable parks in the nation. When all systems are installed, by late 2018, the park will feature a total of 73 kilowatts of solar power, several on-site tumbler composters and a 20,000-gallon underground cistern that will capture a significant amount of rainwater, mitigating 40 percent of the park’s overall water consumption. Enhance Your Park With a growing emphasis on nature and resource conservation in urban areas, existing and new parks nationwide are now prioritizing sustainability alongside accessibility and aesthetic ap

Photo by Mariella Ayala

our goal, park management knew we needed to choose our business partners with purpose, selecting organizations that specialize in environmental responsibility.

peal. From long-term, more extensive solutions, such as those featured at Evelyn’s Park, to more simple and immediate improvements, reinforcing sustainability has a positive impact on the park, the community and the environment. The first step to take when considering net zero or how to make your park more environmentally friendly is to identify strong partners, like the Sun Club, that focus on sustainability. The partners serve as trusted advisers that help bring your project to life, while providing valuable recommendations along the way that strengthen the environmental impact. As an advocate for net zero and park sustainability, Evelyn’s Park hopes to inspire more parks to realize the benefit of being responsible stewards of our environment. Denton Ragland is Executive Director of Evelyn’s Park (

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A youth enjoys the new nature area bike ramp at Chicago’s Big Marsh Park, part of a new legacy of outdoor recreation and openspace stewardship called eco-recreation.

Creating Wellness Policies for Your Park and Recreation Department By Emmanuel Salazar and Irene Tostado


hen thinking about parks, some of the first images that come to mind often center around the many activities we see happening: people walking their dogs, kids on swings, the rhythmic strides of runners. These types of activities, among many others, fall under the responsibility of the Wellness Department. At the Chicago Park District, the mission of the Wellness Department is to promote, educate and motivate Chicagoans of all ages and abilities to adopt a healthy lifestyle by increasing physical activity and choosing foods with high nutritional value. For a mission statement to be embraced, any effective wellness program must have as its foundation a system of policies that bolster the creation of a healthy, safe and supportive learning environment. The Chicago Park District manages nearly 600 facilities, including more than 70 fitness centers, outdoor fitness courses and fitness studios. Parks offer patrons many options when looking for a place to exercise, learn best practices in nutrition or just walk, bike or roll to clear their minds. With this vast number of offerings at locations across the city, Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael P. Kelly saw

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the need to develop a wellness policy that would help guide current and future initiatives. He appointed Colleen Lammel-Harmon, a dietician and exercise enthusiast who was serving as wellness manager for the Chicago Park District, to lead the charge. Lammel-Harmon sought guidance and help from NRPA, Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), the Alliance for a Healthier Generation,

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Health in All Policies (HiAP) Task Force and the Chicago Good Food Purchasing Policy (CGFPP) Task Force. The Park Users Health and Wellness Policy guide was created, based on the informed input received from experts in this field. The policy “encourages the pursuit and education of health and wellness development for every Chicago Park District park user throughout the city of Chicago.” Lammel-Harmon and the rest of the committee were also guided by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Healthy Chicago 2.0 program, which focuses on maximizing the health and well-being of all Chicagoans by ensuring that everyone has equitable access to health resources, opportunities and environments. The policy gave way to the creation of a task force, staffed by members of city agencies and

other organizations, that provided 16 recommendations for how all city agencies can operate in ways that improve the health of Chicagoans. Among the recommendations were the following: • promote the health of city employees • increase the use of active design when planning or modifying building interiors/exteriors • incorporate health-related criteria into decisions on project approval. Lammel-Harmon and the rest of the committee considered the task force’s established guidelines and recommendations to help guide the Park District’s wellness policies. An additional guiding principle for the wellness committee was the input it received from the people who would be the most affected by the implementation of a new wellness policy: community members. What they heard back helped to further develop a sustainable policy. People wanted healthier snacks and beverages in vending machines and improved park participation in programs, like NRPA’s Commit to Health. The Park District’s initial efforts to have all park sites pledge to “commit to health” was supported by NRPA’s Out of School Time grant. This grant allowed parks to teach kids the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards; offer Fun with Food programs, which teach healthy eating habits in a hands-on, interactive class; and incorporate at least 60 minutes of Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) to programs, when applicable. After taking into account all the city guidelines and community feedback, the new policy was written, approved and implemented in late 2017. The policy has led to continued sustainability of health and wellness programs at the Chicago Park District. For example, during summer day camps and many afterschool programs, children have access to healthy foods prepared through the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). In all other Park District events, where food is being served to children, all purchases are now required to have the Wellness Department’s approval. Parks must follow federal and state nutrition standards for meals and get approval from the Wellness Department when choosing from any healthy food and catering lists. More than 2 million meals were served to children last summer in accordance with all those nutrition standards. The Park District’s federal food programs align with the city of Chicago’s resolution of Good Food Purchasing Policy (CGFPP). The Chicago City Council’s adoption of the CGFPP demonstrates a meaningful commitment to values-based food purchasing that contributes to overall health and community wellness. The federal food program will shift a significant portion of money spent on food to local businesses and farmers. At no cost to taxpayers, the CGFPP will prioritize nutritional, affordable, local and sustainable production; sound environmental practices; fair prices for producers; and safe and fair working conditions for employees and food workers.

Physical activity is promoted throughout all programs that the Chicago Park District offers. Recognizing that physical activity is an equally important part of wellness, the Park District continually evaluates its current programming, as well as any new programs, based on MVPA standards, to ensure that no matter what the program, there is some physical activity involved for participants. One Park District program, Mighty Fit Kids, perfectly exemplifies MVPA standards. This fun, creative and constantly changing class invites participants to get a high-energy workout aimed at increasing strength, flexibility, energy and endurance, as well as improving muscle tone on kids. The Chicago Park District’s Community Recreation Department recently announced “Health and Wellness” as one of its major 2018 goals in support of NRPA’s Three Pillars. By nature, all park and recreation departments are invested in their community’s health and wellness. Moreover, efforts to lead the nation to improved health and wellness must start within each organization. It is imperative that guidelines are created to encourage the incorporation of effective wellness practices in all aspects of our organizations. In doing so, we are preparing our parks to carry out the message of healthier practices and offer higher-quality service for all our patrons. Emmanuel Salazar is the Special Project Assistant, Communications for the Chicago Park District ( Irene Tostado is Assistant Press Secretary for the Chicago Park District (

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Alex Romero NEEF


NEEF Day in the Park 2017 at Rio de Los Angeles State Park.

‘Creating Good Citizens’ Dreamers, DACA and immigrants use parks, schools, soccer and sports to build community By Robert García


reamers from Anahuak Youth Sports Association and The City Project have been coming together to use soccer as an organizing tool for healthy active living along the L.A. River and beyond since 2000. They’ve helped lead community agitation for Río de Los Angeles State Park, L.A. State Historic Park, Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies and River revitalization. They continue the fight against green displacement. Not Just a Game Raul Macías, a successful businessman and owner of a textile factory, knew neighborhood children had no place to play. He got a few of them together, paid for their uniforms, shoes, balls, coaches and fields, and formed a soccer team. The team soon grew from 20 players to thousands of students and their families and friends, who now make up the Anahuak league. The league is named in honor of an Aztec place of land and water. Working with civil rights lawyers and

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organizers from The City Project, Anahuak began holding leadership training workshops at coaches’ meetings. Players, coaches, families and friends began speaking out, in English and Spanish, at public hearings and submitting written comments about various issues to government agencies. “Anahuak,” Macías says, “is not about creating good soccer players. Anahuak is about creating good citizens.” Today, when elected officials want to meet with their constituents, they attend Anahuak tournaments and coaches’ meetings. “People think I just snap

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my fingers and hundreds of people come out,” Macías points out. “No. This is our work: We do organizing to unite people.” Our Stories Paco Serrano has been assistant director of Anahuak for years. He received his first driver’s license in 2015 under a new state law providing licenses for undocumented residents. Gil Cedillo, who wrote the law when he served in the state assembly, now serves on the city council. Anahuak and their home park are in his community. The license freed Paco to drive without fear of being arrested for driving without a license, to buy his own car and to get insurance. Paco drives players whose families don’t have cars of their own to Anahuak tournaments. Dayana Molina is a Dreamer. She

(L to R): Raul Macias, Congressman Jimmy Gomez and The City Project’s Tim Mok at NEEF Day in the Park 2017.

Today, when elected officials want to meet with their constituents, they attend Anahuak [Youth Sports Association] tournaments and coaches’ meetings.

Alex Romero NEEF

was the first girl to join the Anahuak league when she turned 13, and played until graduating high school. She still volunteers her time 17 years later and worked as an organizer at The City Project when she became a Dreamer. Molina plans to finish college. “Dreamer status has given me hope,” she shares. “It makes me think perhaps this country is finally taking steps forward toward comprehensive immigration reform. I would like a path to citizenship, and I would like the right to vote. I am hopeful my efforts to gain my degree will not be in vain. I hope the laws will change to make it possible for hard working immigrants to count and live the life we deserve.” I am an immigrant. My father was deported twice. My mother’s brother came to the United States at 17 to join the Air Force. He became a citizen with his commanding officer’s support. He helped our family get here with green cards and served in the military for decades until retiring. I arrived when I was four, graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Law School, became a civil rights attorney and served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. Today, my family includes graduates from and students at Boston College, Boston University, Colgate, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Northeastern, NYU, Princeton, Stanford (two generations), SUNY, and UC, with more on the way. My family includes a pediatrician, professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, small business owners, workers and just plain good people in communities across the nation. We don’t fill only jobs no one else wants. We hold and create coveted positions. We pay taxes. We vote.

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SOCIAL EQUITY The Struggle Continues Anahuak and The City Project organize “Day in the Park” events to help get people active through our new initiative called Healthy Living in the Parklands. We organized the first-ever bilingual, multicultural, international “National Public Lands Day” with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) at Río de Los Angeles State Park in 2017.

Parks and recreation provides a space for immigrants to come together and build community...

Alex Romero NEEF

Alex Romero NEEF

Congressman Jimmy Gomez lives nearby and came to talk about college, jobs and park-poor, income-poor communities. State Park Ranger Luis Rincón recounted the community struggle to create the Park, and the Sonia Sotomayor school next door. National Park Service rangers in uniform brought “LA Ranger Troca,” the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s community engagement vehicle that brings parks to the people. A uniformed LAPD Officer presented awards to Anahuak players to show police are there to protect and to serve, not to deport them. OneJustice, a legal aid organization, helped Dreamers and immigrants understand their rights. The county health department provided materials on health, parks and schools. Take Action Comics, GreenLatinos, League of United Latin American Citizens, Na-

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Anahuak Youth Sports Association player and volunteers at the Rio de Los Angeles State Park, NEEF Day in the Park 2017. | M A R C H 2 0 1 8 | W W W. PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N . O R G

Alex Romero NEEF

tional Parks Conservation Association and Nature for All pitched in, too. But, Los Angeles is erasing the history of our community struggle by creating great urban parks. The city’s online “history” erases the community agitation and environmental justice litigation that resulted in river revitalization, Rio de Los Angeles State Park, where Anahuak plays, and L.A. State Historic Park. The nonprofit the city set up to raise money does not comply with the same civil rights and environmental justice laws that resulted in its creation and river revitalization. The people of Anahuak fight epic battles to improve their lives and face the risk they will no longer be able to afford to live or even work near these parks and schools. Raul Macías, Paco Serrano and I keep fighting, but it’s not up to us.

Rio de Los Angeles State Park, NEEF Day in the Park 2017

Younger generations, including immigrant children, like those growing up in Anahuak, will carry on the struggle for social equity, health and conservation. Parks and recreation provides a space for immigrants to come together and build

community, forming the tapestry that is the United States. Robert García is the Founding Director of and Counsel for The City Project (rgarcia@


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Learning + Play = Sandorf Park 42 Parks & Recreation

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By Paula Jacoby-Garrett


RPA believes in improving health and wellness through parks and recreation; protecting open space, connecting people to nature and engaging communities in conservation practices; and ensuring all people have access to the benefits of local parks and recreation. Annually, as part of this mission, we revitalize or create a park within the city hosting the NRPA Annual Conference through our Parks Build Community project. This fall, the conference will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 25–27, and we hope you’ll come and help celebrate the completion of this project. The Site This year’s Parks Build Community project, Sandorf Park, is located on the southeast side of Indianapolis. Created in 1959, Sandorf Park has been serving its neighborhood for almost six decades. It was originally a 10-acre park, but was reduced to roughly 6½ acres when a portion of the site was used to house a school. The adjacent community is primarily composed of low- to middle-income, single-family residential homes

with some commercial and industrial buildings along the north side of the property. An active rail line also runs along the north end of the park. On-Site School “Sandorf Park is a perfect play space for children to run, skip, laugh and explore,” says André T. Denman, principal park planner for IndyParks. “The park originally was an open field. Amenities did not appear in the park until the school

was developed. Those amenities included a playground, basketball and tennis courts, a parking lot, and backstop for baseball, softball or kickball. The park and Indianapolis Public School (IPS) #19 share a special bond, as the shared space helps promote healthy lifestyles for students and their families. Keeping this in mind, our concept design will not only enhance the current play space, but also encourage the larger community to use the park as the children do every day.” Enrolling students from kindergarten through 8th grade, the IPS SUPER School 19 is an action-based magnet school. The SUPER acronym stands for Students Understanding through Powerful and Energetic Routines. Students are engaged in kinesthetic learning and are encouraged to keep moving throughout the school day. Currently,

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ment improves blood flow and delivery of oxygen, allowing the brain to function at a higher level. SUPER School embraces the philosophy of learning through movement, music, technology and healthy habits” (https://find.enroll​​ AU#who-we-are).















more than 77 percent of the 488 students receive free or reduced lunch and approximately 75 percent of the student body is a minority. IPS SUPER School 19 provides daily physical education, fitness and brain breaks, gardening, fitness zones, sports, an action-based learning lab and civil air patrol. The school is also part of the BOKS program (Build Our Kids Success) supported by Reebok. Founder and Executive Director Kathleen 44 Parks & Recreation

Tullie created the program based on studies that showed students achieve higher academic performance if they are physically active before their school day. To date, the BOKS program is active in communities in all 50 states and four countries. The students’ regular movement and exercise are considered key to academic success. “Research shows that the brain slows down in the learning process the longer a child sits. Move-

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Park Needs As part of the Parks Build Community Initiative process, existing facilities are evaluated for their current relevance and condition, while community needs are assessed to determine future improvements. “Currently, the park contains a basketball court, tennis court (which students use for soccer), a playground, swing set, open lawn and a shade pavilion. The majority of the existing facilities are in need of substantial updating as a result of their age,” says Ryan Cambridge, planning practice leader at Browning Day. “In addition, there are numerous accessibility challenges, which can be improved upon in the new design.” The park renovation project is now in the concept development phase. While nothing has been finalized, initial concept drawings have been produced. Sandorf Park is the only neighborhood park in the area and must meet the needs of the broad and diverse neighborhood residents who may potentially utilize it. Enhancement options are being explored for the existing facilities to save costs and resources, as well as the incorporation of new equipment and structures. “The park’s proximity to downtown Indianapolis also makes Sandorf Park a viable destination for the growing urban populations of Fountain Square and the Market East districts. It will be important to incorporate multiple opportunities within the park space for various types of fitness and exercise activities, not just for the students, but also for the surrounding community,” says Cambridge.

Design Scope and Challenges Sandorf Park is not only an asset to the school, but also to the surrounding neighborhood, so the planning and design team is working to provide a concept and design that meet the needs of both. According to Cambridge: “During the planning process, the project team conducted several community engagement exercises at the IPS SUPER School 19, which included user interviews, interviews with school students and an open public workshop.” As with most park revitalization projects, this one has its share of issues and concerns. “The greatest challenge of this park site is the number of existing site features to work around within the new design. In an effort to maximize value and save construction costs, the

Image courtesy of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf

Some students from the IPS SUPER School 19.

existing basketball court and tennis court locations will both be retained and improved upon,” Cambridge explains. For example, large shade trees

add value to the park and are going to be kept, but they are one of the existing features that must be designed around. The existing playground will get a new

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Image Courtesy of Indy Parks

The current equipment at the Sandorf Park playground.

NRPA’s 2018 Parks Build Community Indianapolis Donors American Ramp Company BCI Burke Dero DOGIPOT Dumor Epic Outdoor Cinema GameTime Gared Greenfields Outdoor Fitness Icon iZone Jr. NBA Kompan Most Dependable Fountains, Inc. Musco Lighting Pilot Rock PlayCore PlayWorld Shade Systems Inc. Synlawn 46 Parks & Recreation

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surface and current drainage issues will be addressed. Project Partners For Cambridge, a registered landscape architect, this project has been “truly collaborative from the start, involving multiple community partners, organizations and vendors.” Planning, design and fundraising partners include: • The Indianapolis Parks Foundation ( • Working to develop and sustain Indianapolis’ parks and trails, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation believes in increased access and availability of resources for all residents. • IndyParks ( yevm) • The Department of Parks & Recreation for Indianapolis operates more than 200 park properties around the Indianapolis area. The department manages everything, from small neighborhood parks to community and regional parks and natural areas. • Indiana Parks and Recreation Association ( • This organization represents more than 1,000 park and recreation professionals from across the state and provides a network for its members, mentoring, professional development and an annual conference. • Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf ( • Browning Day is serving as the primary design and planning consultant and has donated its services pro-bono as part of a celebration of its 50th anniversary as an Indianapolis-based design firm. • EMH&T Engineers, Surveyors, Planners and Scientists ( • Providing planning and design services since 1926, EMH&T is providing engineering and documentation services pro-bono for the Sandorf Park revitalization.

Get Involved While the planning and design contributors have already been identified, we are still looking for donors to make this park a reality. All Parks Build Community projects rely on our NRPA community for donations of expertise, equipment and funds for installation. The revitalized Sandorf Park will celebrate its grand opening

Image Courtesy of Indy Parks

• Visit Indy ( • Working to promote the city of Indianapolis, Visit Indy provides promotion to increase tourism to the area and to support local efforts in the community. • NRPA ( • NRPA’s Parks Build Community project has created the framework and provided coordination for this park renovation to occur.

A community engagement exercise with school students at the IPS SUPER School 19.

during the NRPA Annual Conference in September 2018, and we need your help to make this dream a reality for the local community and the students of IPS SUPER School 19. For more information

on how you can be involved, please email Gina Cohen at Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a Freelance Writer based in Las Vegas, Nevada (paula.jacoby.

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Measuring the Use of Public Neighborhood Parks By Deborah Cohen, MD, MPH and Bing Han, Ph.D.

To measure is to know. If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. — Lord Kelvin


easurement is the fundamental basis for making a decision or taking action. Accordingly, most government departments have a clear method of measuring the services they provide. For example, the police can measure the number of enforcement actions, the fire department can measure the number of establishments inspected and fires fought, and the education department can measure the number of pupils taught as well as their performance on standardized tests.

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Until now, park and recreation departments have had limited tools to assess the use of the services they render to their communities. Park departments provide a wide array of community assets, maintain multiple facilities and coordinate many programs, yet they seldom can precisely measure how many people are being served. Without benchmarks and measures, it is impossible to know whether a department is meeting the needs of its community members or whether it is doing better or worse, from one year to the next. Typically, parks only have partial information about how their facilities are used. They can count registered participants of park-sponsored programs and get lists of team members for groups that obtain permits to use park facilities, but this method will likely assess only a fraction of users, since along with registrants, many family members, friends and acquaintances also visit parks to observe or take advantage of other park facilities. Another method has been to conduct population-based surveys and ask people about their use of park facilities. However, these methods may not be representative, may capture only a fraction of the local residents and may not yield precise information about the specific facilities

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that are being used. Surveys also rely on the memory and ability of individuals to accurately report their park use. Yet, methods exist that provide robust and comprehensive assessments of park use, and these could be adopted by park and rec departments to document park use, not only by registered users, but also by the population. Following are some of these methods, including potential logistics that would be feasible for park and rec departments to adopt. Why Measure Park Use? There are many benefits to being able to measure the uptake and utilization of recreational services and facilities. It provides accountability by showing the public and elected officials the return they are receiving on their investments through tax dollars. Although park departments tend to be underfunded, they still receive substantial funding and showing how these investments benefit the community is critical to increasing trust, as well as potentially being able to demonstrate the impact of changes in investments. For example, if a park had to be closed, it would be clear how many people would be denied access to services, or, conversely, if an additional sum of money were given to the park for a special program, it would be possible to estimate the additional number of people who could be served with these additional resources. It’s one thing to claim that everyone living within a quarter mile of a park would be influenced, but not everyone uses the available facilities. Learning more about usage patterns and their fluctuations could be highly valuable to park planners and managers and to understanding how to best optimize the limited resources that are available. Routine measurement can also inform park managers about other issues related to park use; for example, there may be barriers that are not obvious to those who only have limited contact with parks. There may be intimidating groups

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of people, mentally ill or intoxicated patrons who may discourage others from using the park. Maintenance problems, like litter, graffiti, overgrown lawns and broken equipment, can also be assessed. Goals of Measurement The main goals of measurement should be to quantify the use of facilities and to describe the characteristics of their users. Park-use measurement can be readily implemented through systematic observation. By selecting representative times of the day and days of the week, it is possible to get a general estimate of park use. Many studies have been conducted assessing park use, identifying peak-use periods and low-use periods. If these varied park-use times are sampled, it is possible to estimate the total park use over time. Park facilities can refer to any park element or structure, including lawns, fields, courts or play areas. User characteristics refer to attributes, such as gender, age group and race/ethnicity. This level of information would provide evidence of the equity of services: are men served more than women, children more than seniors or minority populations more than majority? More detailed assessment of characteristics could also include a tally of activities, either summarized as a level of energy expenditure (e.g., sedentary, moderate physical activity or vigorous physical activity), which is an important measure when it comes to health and well-being, or described as a type of activity (e.g., tennis, basketball, picnicking), which provides substantive information on recreational preferences. This information can provide insights about which facility investments are favored by residents and can guide planning for staffing, programming and future renovations. All this data can be used to justify budgetary needs and expenditures. Logistics of Measurement The method of measurement consists of counting and categorizing individual use

at specific points in time. In previous research studies on park use, the most convenient approach was to count park users up to three or four times per day at threehour intervals for a minimum of four days, including at least two weekdays and one weekend day. The aggregated results could provide a relatively accurate assessment of park use over a one-week period. However, the limitation of these closely spaced observations is that the findings may not generalize to different seasons when the parks may be used (or unused due to inclement weather) or when the attraction of the park might vary based on seasonal sports activities. Although jurisdictions may have hundreds of parks, it isn’t necessary to collect data on each park to understand how the parks are being used. A park system may be interested in tracking how its facilities are used. It may want to get a lot of detail about a specific park or about specific areas within one or more parks. Typically, a sampling strategy consists of randomly selecting a small percentage of the parks. A random selection should help ensure that the sample is representative and the findings may be applicable to all parks in the system, even those that were not specifically studied.

City Parks Alliance

Data collection training for the National Study of Neighborhood Parks.

parks) is different from the sampled population (staffed parks), and the sample would not be representative for the target population. In practice, a perfect match between the sampled and target population is usually very difficult. However,

evaluators should make the best efforts to align these two populations. Second, whenever possible, we should always use a probability sample instead of a convenience sample. With a probability sample, everyone in the population has

Sampling Theory and Representativeness of Distant Observations Conceptually, a sample is representative if it can be used to accurately estimate the characteristics of the target population, which is the actual interest for measurement. Among the many technical issues in sampling theory, there are three critical issues in achieving representativeness. First, the sampled population, from which the sample is drawn, should match with the target population as best as it can. For example, suppose that we are interested in studying all parks and facilities managed by the park department. Because of logistical constraints, we may decide to sample only the parks with onsite staff. Then, the target population (all

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Parks & Recreation



Customizing Measurement Logistics to Meet Specific Assessment Needs


ollowing are a range of scenarios and potential strategies that can provide the park-use information desired:

Monitoring the entire park system: If the system has approximately 200 parks, a 10 percent sample will usually be sufficient to get a robust picture of the park use. However, for systems with less than 200 parks, a minimum of 10 – 20 parks is recommended. The frequency of assessment should be spread throughout the year and should include a variety of different days and times, included in mornings, afternoons and evenings, as well as weekdays and weekends. By spreading out the observations over time, it is possible to get an estimate of park use over a longer period and, possibly, across different seasons. Roughly 24 observations (e.g., two times a day, one day per month) for each park may be sufficient to understand overall park use. Assessing the use of small parks or plazas: This could be applied to a single park or several parks that have similar characteristics. In parks where turnover is more rapid (i.e., where people tend to stay for shorter periods), it is necessary to conduct more frequent observations to better capture the changes. For a small park or

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plaza where the average person may stay less than one hour, observations may be scheduled every two hours over several days for 20 – 40 hours of observations per park. The higher end of observations assumes a greater level of turnover.

which have not undergone any changes, to have a more robust assessment. Without a comparison park(s), it will be difficult to determine whether any difference in park use is because of the changes in the park or are a consequence of natural trends in park use.

Assessing changes in park use after renovation or other changes: In this situation, it is important to conduct assessments before and after the change. Depending on the scope of the changes and the length of time it takes to make the changes, the spacing between the pre- and post-assessments may be months or years. If there are strong seasonal variations in park use, it would be critical to conduct the pre- and post-assessments during the same season, and, ideally, at the same times of day and week. Here, we recommend a minimum of 12 – 16 hourly observations before the change is implemented and another 12 – 16 observations after, synchronized to the same time of a week. Because of potential novelty factors, it may be best to perform the post evaluation several months after the change, rather than immediately after, as the highest use of the park may be driven by curiosity, but may not be sustained after the first few months. It is also advisable to have comparison parks,

Assessing seasonal use: In many cases, the use of parks varies considerably across seasons. For a more valid assessment of these differences, we recommend at least 12 observations each season.

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Summarizing data collected: The primary data collected using SOPARC (System of Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) is the number of users, the characteristics of users by gender and age group, physical activity levels, race/ethnicity (if desired), types of activities and time of day for each of the park target areas. The data can be aggregated by any one of these factors. Because the observations are only a sample of the park use, the total use can be imputed by multiplying the average hourly observations times the total number of hours over which the sampling was done. If the hours sampled were representative of 12 hours per day, seven days a week, then the average hourly use would be multiplied by 84 to estimate the weekly use over this period (in the unit of person*hours). Furthermore, the estimates can be improved by separately weighting the weekdays and the weekend days, multiply the average hourly use by 12 hours and five days and the average weekend use by 12 hours times two days, and then summing the weekday and weekend uses. This can be applied to all the subcategories and characteristics of users. The results can be examined by the target area or the type of facility as well. Comparisons can be made across parks, between different time periods and different populations groups.

a chance to be chosen, and the drawing process is random. Any sample that is not a probability sample is a convenience sample; for example, choosing parks because some residents who live nearby volunteer to help is a convenience sample. Note: Subjective opinions in the sampling process, if not incorporated properly, will result in convenience samples. Third, the chosen sample should be sufficiently large to estimate the population characteristics. Statistically, it may be reasonable to sample around 10 percent, if the population is not too large (e.g., sample 10 parks if the city park system has 100 parks). If the population is small, a reasonable sample may be more than 20 percent (e.g., sample four parks if a system has 20 parks). Likewise, if the population is huge, the sampling proportion should also be smaller (e.g., sample 50 green spaces if the city has more than 1,000 public green spaces). A sample must have a minimum of

two but usually should have four or more parks. If the park system is very heterogeneous, the sample size should be increased to ensure most or every type of neighborhood will be represented. Besides sample size, the spacing between observation needs to be considered to provide more information. An estimated three to four hours is necessary between consecutive measurements in the same park, because measuring the parks during consecutive hours may be redundant (e.g., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. will likely not be very different compared to the observations taken at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Geographically sampled parks should also not be close to each other, since it is likely they serve the same populations. Conclusion Measuring park use is a key step toward putting this sector of government service provision on par with other sectors that


are more likely to be considered essential to the lives and well-being of residents. With concrete numbers to support the demand for park services and facilities, park and rec departments can justify the need for park staff, maintenance, and additional parks and facilities. If equity is a goal, the numbers can also provide guidance on how to better develop and implement services. For example, parks that are not reaching women might need some more exercise classes, or parks not visited by seniors may need to add benches or have their accessibility issues addressed. Park assessment will provide important benchmarks to guide park planning and management strategies. Deborah Cohen, MD, MPH, is a Senior Scientist at the RAND Corporation and the Principal Investigator of the National Study of Neighborhood Parks ( Bing Han, Ph.D., is Senior Statistician for RAND Corporation (

Innovation Awards Honor agencies improving their communities in inspirational ways. Spotlight Awards Honor individuals for their commitment to the field. Scholarships & Fellowships Give up-and-coming professionals access to the NRPA Annual Conference.

Submissions will be accepted January 22—March 23

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Parks & Recreation


NRPA Update The Importance of Championing Your Work By Jayni Rasmussen


ate last year, I traveled to the historic city of Clarksville, Tennessee, to attend Clarksville Parks and Recreation’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for Valleybrook Park ( The park, a short distance from downtown Clarksville on the banks of the Cumberland River, underwent a huge revitalization, including new playgrounds, restrooms and a pavilion, thanks to a $477,000 federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Resilience grant. neau, using the tools and resources from the NRPA Park Champion initiative ( park-champions/), invited federally elected and administration officials to the ribbon cutting to show them the value of investing in this community. In attendance were the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Develop-

© Tom Centonze

Longtime Clarksville residents shared with me that eight years ago, the spot where I was standing had been completely underwater — as was much of the state — during the 2010 Tennessee floods. By reopening this beautiful urban oasis, Clarksville is finally bringing this park back to life. The Director of Clarksville Parks and Recreation, Jennifer Letour-

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ment (HUD) Deputy Assistant Secretary of Economic Development Steven Rawlinson and Field Representative John Clement from Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn’s office, along with Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Clarksville city councilmembers, local media and children from the nearby Tabernacle Christian School, who were quite excited to be the first to try out the new playgrounds. The Valleybrook Park opening was the first time Deputy Assistant Secretary Rawlinson had visited a CDBG site. HUD handles the CDBG program at the executive level, so having the deputy assistant secretary attend the ribbon cutting allowed him to see first-hand how CDBG — a $3.3 billion program that provides more than $100 million Students from Clarksville, Tennessee’s Tabernacle Christian School play on the new playground equipment following the reopening ceremony at Valleybrook Park.

in funding to local parks and recreation every year — is investing in a happier, healthier, more economically vibrant Clarksville. CDBG dollars were essential in allowing Clarksville to finally bring the park back to full capacity. The Trump administration, for the second year in a row, has targeted CDBG for elimination in the president’s budget request, so it’s critical to show members of Congress, administration officials, local officials and community members how important CDBG is to providing quality green space and recreation opportunities for everyone in communities across the country. The argument behind fully funding CDBG is solid — for every $1 invested in CDBG, more than $3.65 is leveraged. But, as impressive as that return may be, it’s not the facts and figures that will prevent CDBG’s elimination. Members of Congress are people, too, and while facts and figures play a part in defining their world view, it’s experiences and anecdotes that appeal to them and cut through the cacophony of partisan politics that grips Washington, D.C. This was obvious to me, and I’m sure to many others at the Valleybrook Park ribbon-cutting, as we watched the students from the Tabernacle Christian School gleefully enjoy a playground that simply would not be possible without CDBG funding. It’s hard to deny the impact of CDBG — and other federal investments in local parks and recreation — when you see it so clearly on the faces of children and adults alike enjoying a park. There are more than 500 NRPA members signed up as Park Champions, who are providing their members of Congress with memorable, powerful, in-person experiences that demonstrate the importance of investing in local parks and recreation.

Last year, our Park Champions held more than 70 events showcasing their parks, programs and facilities to their federal-elected officials. In return for sharing their stories, they’ve drawn attention to their work, built long-lasting relationships with their elected officials and helped to amplify the work of the NRPA Public Policy team. Like Clarksville Parks and Recreation, many of you have incredible stories to tell about your agency’s work in your community. You can make a difference by sharing those stories with your members of Congress and administration officials. Sign up as a Park Champion at, and together, we can work to fight for the future of parks and recreation. Do you have a story to share? Take

a page from Clarksville’s book and join the Park Champion initiative by inviting your federal-elected and administration officials to your events. In addition to the tools and resources available to you on the NRPA website, such as our step-by-step event planning guide, the Park Champion Advocacy Toolkit ( our-work/advocacy/Park-Champions/ park-champion-advocacy-toolkit/), I’m always available to help. I’d love to hear from you and help you join the ranks of the Park Champion initiative. Email me at jrasmussen@nrpa. org or give me a call at 440.522.9162. I can’t wait to work with you to share your story. – Jayni Rasmussen, NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager

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Parks & Recreation


NRPA Update

Wildlife Explorers Program Update By Serda Ozbenian, MS, CBLP


ast year, NRPA granted funds to five park and recreation agencies to implement its Wildlife Explorers program, a turnkey initiative that connects kids to nature through their local parks. The grant funding was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help agencies pay for program supplies and an action project that addresses a local environmental challenge. The five agencies were New Bedford Parks Recreation and Beaches, Omaha Parks and Recreation, the City of Tukwila Parks and Recreation, Mooresville Parks & Recreation Department, and Augusta Recreation and Parks. In August, all five agencies completed implementation of the Wildlife Explorers program and environmental action project in their communities, reaching a total of 428 kids. As a requirement of the grant, each grantee administered pre- and post evaluations to 9- and 10-year-old participants, and program leaders and agencies also completed surveys. Surveyed kids demonstrated an overall increase in knowledge about nature, wildlife and protecting the environment. Fifty-five percent of the kids reported

spending more time outdoors after the program than before it, and 76.5 percent of the children reported wishing they could spend more time outside. A total of 23 program leaders, many of them young adults, implemented the Wildlife Explorers program in the five communities. They reported that the following things occurred during the program:

Fifty-five percent of the kids reported spending more time outdoors after the program than before it...

Kids plant a pollinator garden for their Wildlife Explorers action project in Mooresville, North Carolina. 56 Parks & Recreation

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• Kids, who were previously shy, opened up. • Kids were inquisitive and asked a lot of questions. • Kids, who did not like group activities or clubs, really enjoyed the Wildlife Explorers program. • Kids enjoyed being outside and getting their hands dirty. • Kids enjoyed using tools to explore their environment. Program leaders described how Wildlife Explorers provided them with the opportunity to learn more about nature and wildlife alongside the kids. They all said they now feel more capable leading environmental programs outdoors because of the program, and 80 percent of them said they now spend more time outside with kids in out-of-school time. In addition to implementing the six chapters of the Wildlife Explorers workbook, each community also implemented an environmental action project — planting of native flowers and trees, mulching, creating habitat for pollinators and other wildlife, picking up trash and watering trees — to benefit the environment at their park sites. The results from these communities indicate that the Wildlife Explorers program provides a valuable, easy-to-use framework to help park and recreation agencies lead hands-on nature exploration and learning in local parks, increasing children’s time outside and nurturing children’s curiosity and interest in nature. The Wildlife Explorers workbook, which also contains the leader’s guide, is available in English and Spanish at​ ships/initiatives/wildlifeexplorers/. – Serda Ozbenian, MS, CBLP, NRPA’s Conservation Program Manager





















NRPA Update

NRPA on Capitol Hill


t the end of February, NRPA joined the Arthritis Foundation, the American College of Rheumatology and other national partners on Capitol Hill for a day of meetings with Hill staff and a lunchtime briefing highlighting the high cost ($300 billion) and increasing prevalence of arthritis in the United States. NRPA’s health and wellness program manager, Lesha Spencer-Brown, participated in a panel discussion in which she shared about the impact that funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) arthritis program has had on the availability and reach of arthritis-appropriate, evidence-based physical activities programs, such as Active Living Every Day, Fit & Strong! and Walk With Ease, that help improve the health and quality of life for people with arthritis. Since 2013, one or more of the CDC arthritis programs has been offered at more than 140 local park and recreation agencies, including 517 program sessions offerings at 303 different park and recreation sites, reaching more than 12,000 participants nationwide. To date, NRPA has provided funds to support programming in 46 states. Unfortunately, with current funding levels, the CDC can only directly fund 12 state health departments and five national organizations, including NRPA,

to disseminate arthritis health information and evidence-based programs. NRPA asked Congress to fund the CDC arthritis program at $16 million to continue its critical work to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis nationwide. We thank our partners in the Arthritis Coalition for our continued collaboration on advocating for the CDC’s Arthritis Program, and the Congressional Arthritis Caucus for hosting the briefing and encouraging members of Congress to make funding for arthritis research and program dissemination a priority. If you currently offer one of the CDC’s arthritis programs, invite your member of Congress to see the program in action. Contact NRPA’s advocacy and outreach manager, Jayni Rasmussen at if you have questions about how to organize a visit. To learn more about NRPA’s arthritis work, contact Lesha Spencer-Brown at

Park & Recreation Month Cover Contest


hoto submissions are now being accepted for our Park and Recreation Month Cover Contest, so if you’d like your agency to be featured on the cover of the July issue, get those photos in now. We’re looking for photos that tell a great story about the impact parks and rec has in your community, and, with this year’s theme — “A Lifetime of Discovery” — we’d love to see photos that showcase the unique, and often undiscovered, offerings of your agency! The most compelling photos will be put to a public vote on Facebook, and the photo with the most “likes” will win the coveted cover spot! We’ll be accepting photos now through March 30, and here are some things to keep in mind when choosing which photos to submit: Is there an interesting and compelling story behind the photo? Feel free to share this story in the comments section when you upload your photo. • Does the photo include people?

58 Parks & Recreation

• Is it a high-resolution (a minimum of 300 dpi) image that’s at least 9.25 inches wide by 11 inches tall? • Is there room at the top of the image to accommodate the Parks & Recreation logo? For more information and to submit your photos, visit july/july-cover-contest, today!

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Member Spotlight: Sonya Shaw By Vitisia Paynich


onya Shaw is a trailblazer, but she didn’t know it. At least not while she was working on her college dissertation. Shaw, director of Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources in North Carolina, has worked her way up the ladder to a leadership position, but has no intention of shirking her commitment to higher learning. In fact, it’s that continual thirst for knowledge that prompted her to pursue a doctorate degree and to study the pathways for female park and recreation leaders — particularly among African-American women. Parks & Recreation magazine recently spoke to Shaw about what it means to be a catalyst in her profession, what her research reveals about the barriers female African-American leaders face in the workplace and what she calls the “Triple ‘I’ Threat” for achieving a leadership role in parks and rec. A portion of that conversation follows: Parks & Recreation: Did it surprise you to learn you are the first AfricanAmerican female to earn a doctorate degree from the Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management Program at North Carolina State University? What did that mean to you? Sonya Shaw: I talked with a few colleagues, and I said, ‘I know we’ve had some African-American males who had come through the program, but I want to know if there have been any African-American women.’ We couldn’t identify anyone, and then one of my colleagues said, ‘I think you’re the first.’ I was certainly shocked and amazed to discover that in 2017, I was the first. P&R: Tell us about the focus of your dissertation. Shaw: My dissertation was a qualitative study, focusing on the career expanses of African-American women leaders in parks and recreation. I was particularly interested in studying African-American

women leaders because, to date, there are not a lot of African-American women leaders across the country in the profession. In fact, there are currently only 18 African-American women who hold the title of director. I wanted to learn why there are so few African-American women directors. For me, it was an opportunity to examine the career pathway for women in parks and recreation and really look at those barriers that keep women from progressing or from considering leadership positions. P&R: What were the challenges that you identified from your research? Shaw: All the women in my study hold executive-level positions such as director, deputy or assistant director. So, many have already worked through those barriers at some point during their career, and some continue working through those barriers, serving in leadership positions today. The study identified common themes that exist between these women and their experiences. Race and gender, for example, still rear their ugly heads by creating barriers for women in the workplace. Some of the women in the study talked about having to be seen and not necessarily heard at meetings. These women cited a lack of respect among male colleagues that exists because they are serving in a traditionally male-dominant profession. They also discussed having to always

prove themselves seemingly above and beyond others. Then, there were women who talked about being denied a promotion because they felt that race and gender created issues for them. Negative perceptions of African-American women in the workplace were also covered in the study. For example, the ‘angry’ black woman and the perception that because someone is passionate about what she does and is very direct in speaking, she is considered an angry person. A lot of the women talked about having to be conscious of their verbal and non-verbal communication styles and how it plays out in meetings. Some also talked about natural hair versus straight hair in the workplace. In workplaces, some people perceive natural hair as not being professional. Other African-American women said they were judged by their style of clothing. So, between hair and clothing, challenges exist for AfricanAmerican women due to those negative perceptions. Read the interview in its entirety online at March/member-spotlight-sonya-shaw.

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Parks & Recreation


©Myles Mellor

Parks & Recreation Crossword

Across 1 Fundamental issue which necessitates access for all to our nation’s parks, 2 words 6 Radio type 9 A number of mountains 10 Predators on the rise in America’s cities 12 In addition 13 Smart, fine 15 Alien too good for earth 16 Canadian First Nations people 17 Branch 18 Collect information, an important NRPA activity 21 Harry Potter’s mailman 22 Abbreviation for a major airline 24 Planned undertakings 26 Bare peak 28 Allowing participation by everyone 32 Enter a race 33 Cold powder 35 Important action to preserve a park’s land and purpose 36 Gives assistance to

Down 1 Associates in activities to benefit the community 2 Spring flood causes 3 Time just before an event 4 Sam is a famous one for Americans 5 Playthings 7 Shrubs 8 Green ___ infrastructure 11 Not operating 14 Roll-call call 16 Black bird 19 Me-first mindset 20 One who rides a bicycle 22 Secret service, abbr. 23 Pilotless flyers predicted to play a larger part in park life 25 Pelted along 27 Eagle or plover 29 The Trojans of the N.C.A.A. 30 Individual item 31 Reject word 34 Apple state

Check the answers to the crossword at As an added bonus for completing the crossword, you can enter a drawing to receive a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner will be randomly selected and notified on March 30, 2018. 60 Parks & Recreation

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® ™

NRPA Update

Hot Topics If you’re not part of NRPA Connect, you’re missing out on some of the hottest park and recreation topics your colleagues are discussing. Set your email preferences to receive the Daily Digest, so you can stay in the loop. Here are some examples of recent hot topics: Older Adult/Senior Office Names — This isn’t the first time this topic has appeared on NRPA Connect. Our members discuss how the handle naming classes and services for adults 55+. Many do not want to be called “seniors,” so our members have creative suggestions, including Young at Heart, Living Young and Active Adults. Visit this discussion for more ideas! Timers for Automatic Locking of Restrooms — This is a challenge that only someone in the park and recreational field can understand, but trying to find the best locks to use for restrooms after hours can be a struggle. Members share about various products they have used at their facilities and which ones have been a success. Participation Trophies — They have sparked a debate in recent years, and most members have stopped giving out participation trophies, opting instead for T-shirts, lunch bags and water bottles. Does your agency give out participation trophies or do you have another suggestion? Online-Only Brochures — Professionals discuss the benefit of producing an online-only brochure. Other than saving money in the budget, has your agency been successful with not mailing printed brochures? Visit to chime in on the conversations above!

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Preparing for Camp Season? We Can Help!


e know this is the time of year that NRPA members are preparing for camp season. NRPA is partnered with Fun Express, the Corporate Accounts subsidiary of Oriental Trading Company, to ensure members can easily stay within their budget using products that promote creativity, learning and fun, while delivering the keepsakes children and parents love. Here are three ways Fun Express can help you this season: 1. New STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Products — As the demand for STEM-focused summer camps increases, Fun Express has added new products to help these future talented developers, engineers and designers engage in fun, hands-on activities and develop real-world products. 2. 20 Percent Off — There are no promo codes needed. Fun Express offers a corporate discount of 20 percent off the Oriental Trading retail price. New for this season, Fun Express will also beat any advertised price, including Amazon and other online competitors! 3. Dedicated Sales Representative — NRPA members have their own dedicated sales representative to help with contact for price quotes, samples, expedited shipping and more. Josh Mason

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with Fun Express is there to help you and can be reached at jmason@funex​ or 888.999.0397. NRPA member, Dana Baldwin, with Great Neck Park District in Great Neck, New York, is a fan of the member benefit saying, “We’ve been using Fun Express for quite some time now. We couldn’t be happier with the professional, quick and easy customer service received. Josh Mason is the friendliest, most helpful representative; we are so glad to have him! The products we order are always as described and even beat our expectations. I am hooked on Fun Express and even use it outside of work!” Visit to learn more about free, fast shipping and to take advantage of your NRPA Premier Member Discount. Questions? Contact Hayley Herzing at or 703.858.2148.

NRPA is dedicated to providing learning opportunities to advance the development of best practices and resources that make parks and recreation indispensable elements of American communities. Find out more at

SCHOOLS AND CONFERENCES INSPIRE YOUR PEERS WHILE IMPROVING YOUR PRESENTATION SKILLS We are seeking 20-minute education session proposals for our extremely popular Speed Sessions at the NRPA Annual Conference (www. being held this year in Indianapolis, Indiana, September 25–27. This is an excellent opportunity for new or veteran speakers to gain experience speaking at a national event. The sessions are chosen by your peers via crowdsourcing, and proposals are due Friday, March 30, so get yours in today! Submit your speed session by going online to

November 4-8, 2018

August 26-31, 2018 (tenative)

September 25-27, 2018, Indiana Convention Center


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Phoenix, Arizona Riverside, California Marathon, Florida Brookhaven, Georgia Grand Forks, North Dakota Montrose, Colorado Fairfax, Virginia Austin, Texas St. Louis Park, Minnesota Fife, Washington Derby, Kansas Dallas Fort Worth, Texas Gainesville, Florida


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Ceres, California Jupiter, Florida Athens, Ohio


Lawrence, Kansas Ashburn, Virginia Margate, Florida St. Louis Park, Minnesota Cheney, Washington North Miami, Florida

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14-15 14-15 15-16 27-28 28-30 29-30

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Parks & Recreation


Operations A ‘Brand’-New Golf Course for Arlington, Texas The city ups the ante on sports/entertainment synergies By Hal Phillips


n 2008, architect John Colligan started talking to the city of Arlington, Texas, about renovating its municipal Chester H. Ditto Golf Course. At that time, the golf economy was still riding a 15-year development boom, and upgrading cityowned courses had become commonplace. When the Great Recession hit, an oversupplied golf course economy was greatly impacted. Just two years later, course closures would outnumber new openings for the first time in 30 years — a trend the industry has experienced every year since. However, the city of Arlington has since become a poster child for the lucrative synergies linking sports and entertainment. While the Dallas Cowboys’ competitive fortunes have flagged somewhat, AT&T Stadium has been a boon to local business and municipal tax coffers, attracting concerts, conventions and sporting events eager to engage with the Cowboys brand. Spurred on by this example, the Texas​

Rangers followed suit, and in November 2016, Arlington voters approved the use of tax dollars to pay up to $500 million toward a new baseball stadium, complete with retractable roof. The city will use revenue from a half-cent sales tax, 2 percent hotel-occupancy tax and 5 percent car-rental tax to fund its share, with the Rangers committed to pay any cost overruns. The $1.1 billion Globe Life Field is expected to open in time for the 2020 baseball season.

A renovated hole at the Texas Rangers Golf Course in Arlington, Texas — the only municipally owned, Major League Baseballassociated golf course in the country.

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Meanwhile, site work on the new ballpark, as well as construction on the Texas Live! bar and restaurant complex next door, is underway on what were formerly parking lots. This 200,000-squarefoot Texas Live! development will open sometime this summer, and a $150 million luxury Loews Hotel and convention center will follow suite in 2019. According to Colligan, what had been an onagain, off-again, slow-moving courtship with the city was transformed by these large-scale, public/private, sports/entertainment partnerships. The Texas Rangers Golf Course “It was 2014 when we started working with the city on a master plan,” says Colligan, an Arlington resident since 1974. “At the time, they hadn’t really said much about the new baseball stadium; in fact, the citizens approved it while we were working on construction documents for the golf course. But, we felt confident it would happen. There were rumors the Rangers would go to Dallas if they didn’t get a new stadium, and the city sure didn’t want to lose ’em.” According to Gary Packan, Arlington’s assistant park director, the newly renovated golf course, funded by natural gas wells located within city parks and on its municipal courses, will open for play this July with a brand-new name: Texas Rangers Golf Club. Its $8.5 million price tag is small compared to the $500 million residents have committed to the Globe Life Field.

A rendering of the Texas Rangers Golf Club, which is slated to open in July 2018.

“People love their hometown sports; it’s become a significant business here,” Packan says. “The Rangers brand alone will help us reach people we typically would not reach through our marketing channels. We see a lot more opportunity here these days. If we can renovate and partner with other agencies to make this facility all it can be, that would really solidify an already stable golf operation — and anything we could generate above and beyond it gives us flexibility to reinvest.” Texas Live! and the new Loews are just two of five Arlington hotels now in some stage of development, according to Decima Mullen with the Arlington Convention and Business Bureau. Originally, Packan and the city’s golf services manager, Greg Durante, had merely sought a piece of the tourist business that had developed around both the Cowboys and the Rangers. It was Colligan who first enlightened them to the larger possibilities with his redesign. “I’m biased, but this is going to the best public golf course in all of Texas, certainly in the Dallas-Fort Worth area,” says Colligan, who credits his younger partner, Trey Kemp, with a revelatory rerouting strategy. “This was always a beautiful piece of property, but it will be a brand-new golf course. Two-hundred­and-fifty-thousand cubic yards of material have been moved and only five of the original golf holes remain — the rest have been rerouted,” Colligan explains. “We relocated the clubhouse to get better views of the course, and we’ve created a practice facility that is better than 95 percent of the private clubs around here.” The city owns and operates three ad

ditional golf properties: Tierra Verde, Meadowbrook Park and Lake Arlington. Tierra Verde is quite new and well-regarded, but it’s not on the side of town where local hotels are sending all their golfing guests. Durante adds: “Along with that, our clubhouse was small and aged — not conducive to tournaments and outings. We really didn’t have a place to meet or congregate, even though we had a tent. The new course and clubhouse will enable us to partner with hotels and compete for that business, especially tournaments and outings, which typically bring in higher revenue per player than normal play.” Raising Our Profile The Texas Rangers Baseball Club is the most important new partner in this endeavor. “The concept,” Packan says, “is that the Texas Rangers already have an image, a mystique. A lot of people already travel to Arlington to see the Rangers, and if they’re coming in for a weekend, they may want to play golf

at this course because of its association with the Rangers. It’s not just golf. With our new banquet facility, they may want to have their wedding or 50th birthday party or graduation celebration here. This is the only Major League Baseballassociated golf course in the country.” Packan and the city were inspired by the Cowboys Golf Club in nearby Grapevine. While privately owned, it partners and co-markets with the iconic NFL franchise in a variety of ways. Green fees at Cowboys GC are a whopping $180. The new Texas Rangers GC may not achieve that lofty price point, but Durante believes weekend green fees will still occupy the high-end for municipal courses. In terms of marketing breadth, the Rangers’ relationship with its new eponymous golf course is arguably more extensive. “We’re talking pocket schedules, programs, yearbook ads, first pitch opportunities, the ability to gift golf rounds in the Rangers gift shops, and we’ll do some co-op rental opportunities when they have a wedding package at their stadium — getting married on the field is popular,” Packan says. “They’ll provide memorabilia for promotional displays, get former players on property for events. We’re talking pregame videos [promoting Texas Rangers GC], using the Rangers logo in selling merchandize in our golf shop. They will move some of their tournaments over to us, help with social media...It’s going to really help us raise our profile.” Hal Phillips is Managing Director for Mandarin Media (

W W W. PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N . O R G | M A R C H 2 0 1 8 |

Parks & Recreation


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(ISSN 0031-2215) is published monthly by the National Recreation and Park Association, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148, a service organization supported by membership dues and voluntary contributions. Copyright Š2018 by the National Recreation and Park Association. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed articles are those of the writers and not necessarily those of NRPA. Issued to members at the annual subscription price of $30, included in dues. Subscription: $46 a year in the U.S.; $56 elsewhere. Single copy price: $7. Library rate: $58 a year in the U.S.; $68 elsewhere. Periodical postage paid at Ashburn, Virginia, and at additional mailing offices. Editorial and advertising offices at 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148. 703.858.0784. Postmaster, send address changes to Parks & Recreation, 22377 Belmont Ridge Rd., Ashburn, VA 20148.

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Parks & Recreation


Park Bench

Play Ball! Last March, one of the first major decisions Grant Hansen had to make after only three weeks on the job as athletics coordinator for Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation was to cancel the spring youth baseball league. “It broke my heart,” says Hansen, himself a former baseball player. The problem was he just could not find enough children. The reality Hansen faced is borne out by research that shows the number of children participating in organized sports, such as basketball, football, even soccer, is on the decline. Also, unlike basketball and soccer, which have a pretty short equipment list, baseball requires much more in the way of equipment, the cost for which can quickly add up. Hansen’s passion for the game and his first-hand knowledge of the life lessons and benefits it provides, made him determined that the baseball program would not end on his watch. After all, in a state known for its “fan”atical sports fans and its sports heritage, how could he? So, following some internal conversations, OKC Parks and Recreation reached out to the Oklahoma City Dodgers, initially to see if the team would help the department increase the maintenance standards of many of the outdoor sports facilities across the OKC metro area. However, after the OKC Dodgers learned about last season’s youth baseball league cancellation, the focus of the conversations quickly turned to helping the OKC parks department reignite the program. Out of those conversations, the creation of the OKC Dodgers Rookie League was announced on February 14. “Since the announcement, both entities have hit the ground running, highlighting this unique partnership. Through digital marketing plans, as well as good old-fashion fliers, the news is spreading throughout the OKC metro area. In less than a week of that announcement, registrations for the 2018 season have picked up, and many community members are asking what they can do to be part of this,” says Hansen. A decision soon will be made about the OKC Parks and Recreation Department’s 2018 youth baseball league. The OKC Dodgers will be providing the kids with everything from jerseys and hats to bases, balls and bats. Both entities are optimistic that this spring, the signature thwack of baseballs striking metal bats will again fill the air on baseball diamonds in local parks around the city. –Sonia Myrick, Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine

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Parks & Recreation Magazine March 2018  
Parks & Recreation Magazine March 2018