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Recreation and Esports | 2019 NRPA ANNUAL CONFERENCE ISSUE | What Makes a Great Park?

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o cookie-cutter solutions here! The newest outdoor gym in the city of Miami features a custom-designed Greenfields Functional Fitness Rig with unique features such as a wave ladder, ball target, and more. Looking for a fitness solution for your park? Let Greenfields work with you to create a one-of-a-kind exercise area. In addition to customized functional fitness solutions, Greenfields also offers: • The Professional Series, with the most advanced resistance feature on the market • The patented Signature Accessible™ line for those with mobility impairments (U.S. Patent 9,079,069) • Body-weight resistance units for a wide range of users Call us today at 888-315-9037 or visit us at greenfieldsfitness.com and we’ll help you plan your community’s ultimate outdoor gym!

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At Landscape Structures, we believe playstructures should complement their surroundings. But more than that, they should complement childhood. Every aesthetic choice is also backed by evidence to challenge, excite and energize kids of all abilities. Because better play shapes kids into better adults.

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contents september 2019 volume 54 | number 9 | www.parksandrecreation.org


50 A Conversation with Baseball’s ‘Iron Man’ Cort Jones

Cal Ripken Jr. will be sharing his story at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. Parks & Recreation magazine spoke with him to find out about the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, why he believes it’s critical to provide opportunities and safe spaces for at-risk youth and why he’s excited about the NRPA Annual Conference.

56 Designing the Great Park that Everyone Deserves

Mike Abbaté, FASLA; Gina Ford, FASLA; and Joseph Webb, RLA

What exactly makes a great park? Learn about the three primary categories that can help residents, elected officials and park and recreation professionals assess the “greatness” of the parks in their communities.

62 Esports: The Next Big Thing for Parks and Rec Neelay Bhatt

Revenue from esports (electronic sports), the fastest-growing sport genre nationally and 6

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globally, is estimated to have crossed the $1 billion mark in 2019 — a steep rise from $130 million just seven years ago. What can and should park and recreation agencies do now to incorporate this phenomenon into their offerings?

68 Tennis: A Game Changer in Park Revitalization Mary Helen Sprecher

The appeal of tennis spans across all demographic and socioeconomic groups, and parks have traditionally been the epicenter of tennis in the United States. This case study explores the ways tennis courts bring life — and revenue — to parks. 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS

74 Bring on the Charm! 82 The Importance of Parks Build Community Donors and Their Shared Vision 86 2019 Local Host Committee 87 The 2019 Conference Program Committee 89 Product Preview

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contents september

columns 10 Perspectives

departments 14 Research

Bringing a Parks Movement to Life Kristine Stratton

12 Editor’s Letter Celebrating Parks and Recreation Gina Mullins-Cohen

Conducting an Effective Feedback Survey Kevin Roth, Ph.D.

16 Park Pulse

30 Advocacy Strengthening Federally Funded Summer Meal Sites Kate Clabaugh, MSW

Are People Interested in Evening Activities Hosted at Their Local Park?

18 Community Center

32 Law Review Longstanding Historic Cross Constitutional Challenge James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.

Computer Hackers’ New Trick Joe Dysart

22 Member to Member „„ How a Bad Social Media Experience Can Be Good 22 Thomas Venniro „„ The Vexing Problem of Latin Crosses in Public Parks 26 Richard J. Dolesh

40 Health & Wellness Senior Centers: Reimagining Aging and Exploring New Opportunities Lesha Spencer-Brown, MPH, CPH

42 Conservation The Baltimore Ecosystem Study Karl Schrass

92 NRPA Update „„ The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey 92 „„ Philip Wu, M.D., Joins the NRPA Board of Directors 94 „„ NRPA’s Dolesh a 2019 Pugsley Medals Recipient 94 „„ Developing Community-Integrated Health Strategies 95 „„ Parks & Recreation Crossword 96 „„ Supporting Farmers Markets and CSAs in Park and Recreation Spaces 98 „„ NRPA Waives CAPRA Application Fee 99 „„ Member Spotlight: Denise Johnson-Caldwell 100 „„ Connect Hot Topics 102 „„ Member Benefit: Are You Taking Advantage of Your NRPA Member Discount Programs? 102 „„ Professional Development Calendar 104

46 Social Equity Interpretive Signs and Programs Paul Gilbert

106 Operations „„ Tips for Increasing Concessions Cost Recovery 106 Sonia Myrick „„ What’s New in Indoor Fitness Equipment 110 Lindsay Collins

114 Products

127 Advertiser Index 128 Park Bench Pop-Up Potential Lindsay Collins Cover image: The Sporting News / Contributor Getty Images


Parks & Recreation

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116 Park Essentials

Page 40


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Bringing a Parks Movement to Life People love parks. Our surveys show that they almost unanimously agree that their communities benefit from their local public parks, even if they themselves are not regular park users. Ninety-nine percent of mayors also acknowledge that their communities benefit from parks. Beyond the benefits that the public generally recognizes, parks are essential community infrastructure. With floods, heat waves and water-sustainability challenges on the rise, we can first look to our parks and green spaces for the most obvious and accessible solutions to those challenges. Our parks and their maintenance, however, are chronically underfunded, even without the new green stormwater and other infrastructure projects communities around the country desperately need. This funding crisis affects parks at the local, state and national level. Remarkably, the iconic Acadia National Park in my home state of Maine, recently reported (again) a backlog of hundreds of deferred maintenance projects and an infrastructure price tag that grew $6 million in the past year alone, from $59.8 to $65.8 million. This was the most visited park, with more than 3.5 million people experiencing it in 2018. It is truly time for a nationwide parks movement to fund healthy and resilient parks. It’s time to turn the ample and obvious public love of parks into public will and public action. The signs that we are ready for such a movement are strong. A few years ago, Washington, D.C., made history with an environmental impact bond to fund green stormwater infrastructure. In 2017, California and New York each issued more than $4 billion in bonds to finance green infrastructure projects. And in 2018, California signed the Green Bond Pledge (https:// tinyurl.com/yxpe9p88), recognizing that “all bonds that finance long-term infrastructure and capital projects need to address environmental impact and climate risk.” Since the World Bank introduced them in 2007, the green bond market has grown to about $500 billion, and that is less than 1 percent of the total global bond market (estimated at $100 trillion). Imagine what could 10

Parks & Recreation

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be possible in cities and towns across the country if we put this growing market to use in service of both the park upgrades we so desperately need and solving for community sustainability and resiliency in the process. Yet, to expect that the financial markets are going to solve all our problems is not the answer. They are just one piece of a much larger puzzle. We need our private markets to work, of course, and we need our elected officials to be Park Champions (https://tinyurl.com/ y2y7qnp5). That’s what building a parks movement is all about — public, private and community support and action. It’s not out of reach. Even our divided Congress united earlier this year to pass the Dingell Act, permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund. At the local level, communities are approving tax measures to fund improvements. In 2016, Alachua County, Florida, residents voted for an eight-year, one-half-cent sales tax to pay for the purchase of conservation lands and the improvement of recreational facilities throughout the county and its municipalities. By furthering this positive momentum, we can harness the public and private will to deploy billions in service of the infrastructure improvements we need to strengthen our parks and our communities. We could replicate projects, like the Historic Fourth Ward Park (https://tinyurl.com/y27t46fq) in Atlanta or the “Green City, Clean Water” (https://tinyurl.com/ y5kxo8gg) effort in Philadelphia, and see the benefits in clean water and more resilient communities. Together we can do it! NRPA is amplifying our collective voices and bringing this vision to life. We are standing with our partners — the community members, planners, landscape architects, policymakers and scientists designing the solutions. And, most importantly, we are standing with all of you — park and recreation professionals, in communities big and small, who are bringing these projects and this vision to life every single day. The parks movement of today is about you.


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Celebrating Parks and Recreation The NRPA Annual Conference has officially arrived! Here at headquarters, the feeling is akin to the countdown to a new year. This event is not only a gathering of thousands of park and recreational professionals to share their knowledge, but it is also a time to reflect on individual accomplishments as well as those across our field. It is now time to set goals for the upcoming year. I can’t think of a better way to spark inspiration than with an Opening General Session keynote from one of the greatest baseball players of all time. We are thrilled to have Cal Ripken Jr. kick off the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference — so excited, in fact, we couldn’t wait to talk with him! If you can’t wait either, turn to the feature on page 50, “A Conversation with Baseball’s ‘Iron Man.’” This in-depth interview with Cal Ripken Jr., by NRPA’s communications manager, Cort Jones, speaks to his baseball career, the work of his foundation and why he’s excited to be with us in Baltimore. Then, we delve into one of the most vital questions pertaining to the field of parks and recreation: what makes a great park? The feature on page 56, by contributors Mike Abbaté, Gina Ford and Joseph Webb, “Designing the Great Park that Everyone Deserves,” gives the perspective of three landscape architects who provide answers and insight on how to create truly great spaces and how residents, elected officials and park and recreation professionals can assess the “greatness” of their parks. Once we’ve got you thinking about big ideas, we provide you with just a couple of the trends and tactics to consider implementing at your parks. On page 62, NRPA Board member Neelay Bhatt explains why parks and recreation should get into esports, the fastest-growing sport genre on a national and global scale. And, on page 68, in “Tennis: A Game Changer in Park Revitalization,” Mary Helen Sprecher lays out how one of the country’s most popular and accessible recreation activities can revitalize your parks and create additional revenue by putting a little love and attention into your preexisting infrastructure. All that you need to know to explore Baltimore is contained in the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference feature section, beginning on page 74. Be sure to read up on all the activities Charm City has to offer to make the most of your trip, as well as about Parks Build Community and the people and organizations that make these events possible. Whether you are joining us in Baltimore, attending our NRPA Live sessions or reading your updates in Parks & Recreation magazine, we hope you are proud of the achievements we’ve made together and are excited about what’s to come.

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


Parks & Recreation

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PRESIDENT AND CEO Kristine Stratton VICE PRESIDENT OF MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLISHING, AND EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Gina Mullins-Cohen gcohen@nrpa.org EXECUTIVE EDITOR Sonia Myrick smyrick@nrpa.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR Lindsay Collins lcollins@nrpa.org EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTOR Suzanne Nathan snathan@nrpa.org PUBLICATION DESIGN Kim Mabon/Creative By Design CreativeByDesign.net SENIOR SALES MANAGER EASTERN REGION AND EUROPE Kip Ongstad 703.858.2174 kongstad@nrpa.org SENIOR SALES MANAGER WESTERN REGION AND ASIA Michelle Dellner 949.248.1057 mdellner@nrpa.org SALES COORDINATOR Meghan Fredriksen 703.858.2190 mfredriksen@nrpa.org PHOTOGRAPHY Dreamstime.com or NRPA (unless otherwise noted) MAGAZINE ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Anthony-Paul Diaz Ryan Eaker Robert García Kathleen Gibi Paul Gilbert, CPRP Tim Herd, CPRE Brian Johnson, CPSI Roslyn Johnson, CPRP Michele Lemons Sam Mendelsohn Maria Nardi Lisa Paradis, CPRP Paula Sliefert Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO Anne-Marie Spencer Stephen Springs

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Chair-Elect Michael Kelly Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois Treasurer Xavier D. Urrutia City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation San Antonio, Texas

Secretary Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

President and CEO Kristine Stratton National Recreation and Park Association Ashburn, Virginia

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Michael Abbaté, FASLA Abbaté Designs Portland, Oregon

Jesús Aguirre, CPRE Seattle Parks and Recreation Seattle, Washington

Jack Kardys

J. Kardys Strategies Miami, Florida

Michael Kelly

Chicago Park District Chicago, Illinois

Karen Bates Kress Park Advocate Emigrant, Montana

Joanna Lombard

University of Miami School of Architecture; Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences Miami, Florida

Carolyn McKnight, CPRP Previously with BREC Dallas, Texas

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City of Bristol Parks & Recreation Bristol, Connecticut

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Hayden Brooks American Realty Corporation Austin, Texas

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City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Las Vegas, Nevada Formerly of Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region Portland, Oregon

Lexington, South Carolina

Anne S. Close

Fort Mill, South Carolina

Kevin Coyle

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National Wildlife Federation Reston, Virginia

Rosemary Hall Evans

Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

Ballard Partners Miami, Florida

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Dover, Kohl & Partners Town Planning Miami, Florida

Richard Gulley City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department San Diego, California

Roslyn Johnson, CPRP Previously with Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Greenbelt, Maryland

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RESEARCH Conducting an Effective Feedback Survey By Kevin Roth, Ph.D.



Parks & Recreation

he NRPA Research team aims to identify data that help park and recreation agencies more effectively serve all members of their communities and to help park and rec professionals and advocates make the case for greater, more stable funding. A major source of the data we share in the Agency Performance Review, 2019 Engagement with Parks Report and NRPA Park Pulse comes from surveys we conduct or have commissioned.

tions into one of these survey tools and posting a link on your agency’s website. Choosing the appropriate questions, identifying how to reach respondents and acting on what you learn from the collected data all define a successful feedback survey.

NRPA also surveys its members and attendees of the annual conference and other events to gauge overall satisfaction and identify opportunities for improvement. Receiving and analyzing constructive feedback are vital to any organization that strives for continual improvement and long-term growth. This is no less true for park and recreation agencies. Developing strong community feedback loops is critical for park and recreation agencies seeking to meet the ever-evolving needs and desires of the public. This feedback is a piece of the puzzle that leads to higher-quality park and recreation amenities and program-

Collecting Feedback from Park and Rec Users

ming attuned to local needs. Even more so, highly engaged and satisfied residents are your agency’s greatest advocates. They not only will encourage their family, friends and neighbors to use your agency’s amenities, but also will push local political leaders to support that greater, more stable funding for your agency’s operations. Online survey tools, such as Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo, are an easy, cost-effective way to collect and analyze feedback data from the users and participants of your agency’s amenities and services. But conducting an effective survey is about more than entering ques-

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Some park and recreation agencies benefit from having a full-time analyst to conduct and analyze customer feedback surveys. But other agencies without a full-fledged market research operation can still collect useful customer feedback. To help, the NRPA Research team created the Customer Feedback Surveys Resource Center (www.nrpa.org/surveys-customer) to provide park and recreation professionals with key principles and tips for conducting effective customer satisfaction surveys. This online resource focuses on collecting actionable feedback while keeping your agency’s time, money, staffing and current survey skills in mind. The Customer Feedback Surveys Resource Center walks you through the survey process in four major steps: Set the survey goals: Having clearly defined research goals is key to any successful customer feedback survey. Hence, the first step of any research project is to set these goals so you can use them as the basis for every other decision you make during the survey process. Consider what you want to accomplish with the project to inform what you need to learn from the survey.

Create the survey: You will want to design the survey questionnaire to generate actionable data. At the same time, you should aim for respondents to have a high-quality customer experience when completing the survey. Hence, respect your customers’ time by keeping the questions (and the survey as a whole) short and to the point. Conduct the survey: There is no single optimal method to conduct a survey. Indeed, the goals of the survey should inform the decision whether to conduct it electronically, on paper or in person. Common survey methods include email, postcard, canvassing a public event/park/recreation center, website and door-to-door interview. Each method has its own set of pros and cons that will inform your decision on which to choose. Use the data: If and how you conduct a feedback survey do not matter if you do not use the results afterward. Identify how best to use the research findings both inside and outside your organization to improve your agency and its programming. Sharing data externally is also an effective way for your agency to celebrate and broadcast its successes and communicate upcoming changes to the public.

consider removing it from the survey. Ensure that the survey questions are accessible to the target audience, using their language. Design your survey questions to be brief, specific and free of jargon and other words that your residents may find unfamiliar or off-putting. Become familiar with your agency’s and jurisdiction’s privacy policies. When possible, avoid collecting survey respondents’ personally identifiable information. And, if you must collect this type of information, put safeguards in place to ensure data security.

Resource Center Additions The Customer Feedback Survey Resource Center is only the first element of a wider suite of tools

we will be rolling out to help park and recreation professionals collect actionable information from and about residents. Additions to the resource center will cover a wide range of topics all related to how you can use data to inform your work in a relevant, resource-conscious way. Each tool — including those on community needs assessment and measuring agency’s program performance — will be easy to use and will not require expert-level experience. Potential resources in the future will center around Community Needs Assessments and Measuring Your Agency’s Program Performance. Keep a watch out for the next installment. Kevin Roth, Ph.D., is NRPA’s Vice President of Professional Development, Research and Technology (kroth@nrpa.org).

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Respect Their Time Keep your feedback surveys short so residents can complete them in only a few minutes. Only include questions that will elicit the information you most need to learn (go back to your survey’s goals in step one to keep the questionnaire focused). Be clear on how you will use the responses to each question — if you cannot identify an action you would take based on a question’s response,

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Local Parks Are a Popular Nighttime Entertainment Venue


of people enjoy evening activities hosted at their local park.

Members of the community seek park-centered entertainment and social events that allow them to mix and mingle with others.

The top 3 activities include:

Music or performance events, such as concerts

Movie nights in the park

Each month, through a poll of 1,000 U.S. residents focused on park and recreation issues, NRPA Park Pulse helps tell the park and recreation story. Questions span from the serious to the more lighthearted. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com).

Visit nrpa.org/park-pulse for more information.

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COMMUNITY CENTER Computer Hackers’ New Trick Stealing your computing processing power By Joe Dysart


n a marked shift from previous years, hackers are much more likely these days to be bent on stealing your computing processing power than on embedding ransomware or other malware on your network, according to a March 2019 report from IBM (www.ibm.com/security/ data-breach/threat-intelligence). Why? Because, according to the report’s authors, it’s much safer for hackers to simply steal your computing processing power over the internet — and use it for mining cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin — than to get involved in planting other criminal software on your network. “One of the hottest commodities is computing power tied to the emergence of cryptocurrencies,” says Wendi Whitmore, global lead, IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services. “This has led to corporate networks and consumer devices being secretly hijacked to mine for these digital currencies.” Kevin Haley, director,


Parks & Recreation

Symantec Security Response, adds: “Now, you could be fighting for resources on your phone, computer or I.O.T. device — as attackers use them for profit.” “It’s something we are on the watch for should it begin to occur,” says Reggie Davidson, superintendent of recreation for Wichita (Kansas) Park and Recreation.

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Shift in Hackers’ Tactics All told, the number of computer users reportedly impacted by Black Hat (criminal) mining was more than 5 million in 2018, up from 2.7 million the previous year, according to a report from IT security firm Kapersky Lab (https:// tinyurl.com/y5p3nb7f). The number is probably much higher, given that it’s often very difficult to detect when a Black Hat miner has infiltrated your network or computer. The reports from IBM and Kapersky are an eye-opening shift in hacker tactics, given that so many corporations and individuals are currently fixated on preventing ransomware and other malware attacks. So, few people realize that many hackers have now moved on to stealing computing processing power. One of the most vexing aspects of this theft of computing processing power, also known as cryptojacking, is that it can be so clandestine. Many hackers running the scam often steal computer processing power only when a computer or smartphone is not in use. In fact, the most careful hackers steal power during off-hours, when computers are on, but most people are sleeping. Other hackers are especially crafty in camouflaging mining programs on a hard drive as legitimate software. Kapersky Labs, for example, has uncovered a mining program that looks like an Adobe product installed on your computing device — complete with a fake Adobe icon,

fake Adobe executable file and fake Adobe digital signature, according to Evgeny Lopatin, a security expert at the IT firm. “Malware, especially cryptominers, continually evolves to avoid detection, often hiding in memory or delivering malicious code directly into the memory of a system,” adds Intel Security General Manager Jim Gordon.

The Effects The impact on individuals and companies overall can be significant. Cryptojacking generally results in a slowdown in computing performance while the theft is underway, making it more difficult to work on your device and decreasing your overall productivity. Computers can also become unstable during a theft. In addition, hackers hijacking computers for mining often have no qualms driving computer processors and supporting systems at maximum speed, which often shortens the life of the devices or overheats their batteries. Computers hijacked by Black Hat miners often have their fans running at maximum speed, as they are desperately trying to cool down computer processors that are running at excessive speeds. In addition, cryptojacking also shows up in inflated electricity bills. And, added costs show up for companies using cloud connections that are compromised by the thieves — bills for CPU usage can be much higher. “The massive profit incentive puts people, devices and organizations at risk,” says Mike Fey, president and COO for Symantec. “Unfortunately, the problem of computer processing theft will most likely be with us as long as crypto

currencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero, remain popular,” Haley adds. Hackers first discovered the market in Black Hat mining as cryptocurrencies burgeoned and grew to rely on thousands of computers worldwide to maintain their systems. Essentially, the currency systems need those networks to verify all the transactions associated with digital coin transactions and to perform overall auditing of their systems. Scores of legitimate computer networks regularly perform this work and are paid in new, digital cryptocurrency “coins” after they complete a pre-agreed on amount of auditing. For this reason, the computer networks are called “miners”: They mine new cryptocurren-

cy coin by working as auditors for the cryptocurrency systems. Black Hat miners do the same work as their legitimate counterparts, but with one major difference: Instead of using their own computer networks, Black Hat miners unleash onto the web malware that transforms thousands of computers, smartphones and other computer devices into a zombie mining network. Together, all that stolen processing power is used to mine cryptocurrency.

What to Look Out For Currently, IT security experts say companies should be on the lookout for two types of Black Hat cryptomining. The first comes in the same format as malware. It’s generally secretly downloaded to


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Parks & Recreation



a computerized device via a rogue link and executes as a working mining program at the hacker’s whim. The second major form of Black Hat mining occurs while people surf the internet and visit a webpage that has been reprogrammed by a Black Hat miner. The cryptomining script, injected into the page, steals computer processing power while the user remains on that site. This form of Black Hat mining affected millions of Android users in 2018, according to IT security firm Malwarebytes

(https://tinyurl.com/y6pnjdob). Fortunately, the best practices for combating cryptojacking generally mirror those used by companies for protecting against other kinds of malware, including having: • Gold-plated firewall systems • IT network security software • Regularly installed security updates for all software • Employee education programs that train staff to beware of suspicious emails, suspicious websites and suspicious phone callers

Browser Extensions to Help Protect Against Black Hat Mining Tools for Individual Computer Users Computer users can install the following browser extensions that help protect against Black Hat mining: NoCoin






Coin-Hive Blocker


They can also test to see if their web browser has been corrupted by a Black Hat miner with a free service from Opera Browser (https://cryptojackingtest. com/), and be on the lookout for Black Hat miners, simply by noticing decreases in machine performance and speed. Tools for Network administrators:

20 Parks & Recreation

WhatsUp Gold, by Ipswitch

(www.ipswitch.com/network-monitoring?utm_ source=blog&utm_medium=referral), enables network administrators to monitor for CPU-usage spikes over time and to set up alerts when CPU usage exceeds a threshold. The app can also be specially tuned to monitor a network’s CPU usage during off-hours — prime time for many Black Hat miners.

Cisco Umbrella

(https://umbrella.cisco.com/) added a cryptomining security setting that allows you to block identities from (1) accessing known cryptomining pools where miners group together and share resources — processing power — to better gather and share cryptocurrencies, and (2) from known web cryptomining source-code repositories.

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asking for passwords and other network access information Jami McMannes, senior coordinator of marketing for Fort Collins (Colorado) Parks and Recreation, says, “The IT department established its first formalized cybersecurity team that oversees cybersecurity for the entire city infrastructure and its technology assets. As part of the overall enterprise, all the city’s computer assets are monitored using the latest tools and technologies to monitor not only threats, but also the health of our systems.” Wichita’s Davidson says his IT department also has several defenses in place: “The city maintains industry-standard defenses against malware and utilizes a robust, active directory group policy, which includes workstation-privilege limitation to limit what hackers are able to do at remote sites. In addition, we have antivirus policies and multiple firewall-based defenses to alert, detect and block this specific type of malware behavior,” he adds. “People need to expand their defenses, or they will pay the price for someone else using their device,” cautions Symantec’s Haley. In some ways, this latest sleight of hand from hackers appears, like so many others they’ve used, to take advantage of everyday computer users. The only real difference now is that it’s so insidious. With Black Hat mining, it can take months or even years for a park and recreation department to discover that a hacker is taking small sips from its network computer processing power when no one is looking. Joe Dysart is a Manhattan-based Internet Speaker and Business Consultant (joe@ joedysart.com).

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MEMBER TO MEMBER How a Bad Social Media Experience Can Be Good By Thomas Venniro


e are always being watched.” This concept is tough to conceive, but the truth of the matter is: As individuals and institutions, we are always being watched. Social media and other social platforms have magnified this concept to an entirely different level. Traditionally, from an institutional perspective, we have “watched” our patrons by means of individual program/event/facility evaluation, general surveys and surveillance videos, to name a few. We then take our findings, evaluate them and act accordingly. In this form of surveillance, the institution holds all the data or information and may choose what to share, if it chooses to share anything at all. Thanks to modern technology, such as smart devices, paired with social media and other platforms, such as Yelp or Google, individuals are also able to regularly and

publicly survey institutions. This can be a wonderful tool for park and recreation agencies, especially when agencies receive positive feedback and praise. After all, our goals and missions are to provide our constituents with positive and enjoyable leisure-time experiences. But what happens when we receive negative feedback? It’s possible it has happened to many of us, and generally, it seems to come out of nowhere. I am not talking about the email that comes from an individual to one or several individuals in an organization, but about the Facebook comment (or review) that is posted for the entire world to see. How are we to manage, react to or respond in these situations? This is where the following story begins and can, perhaps, be viewed as a caution-

ary tale for navigating this era of person-to-institution surveillance. A Social Media Lesson Not too long ago, the team at the Hilton-Parma Parks & Recreation in Hilton, New York, decided to conduct a simple, lighthearted contest on Facebook. We asked people to help us choose our next Parks & Recreation Experience Guide cover photo by “liking” their favorite mocked-up cover. In our community, the cover of our brochure regularly features professionally taken photos of participants at our programs and events. When someone finds out they have made the cover, the excitement and aftermath are always special. In the Facebook post, we included four possible cover photos based on image quality and fit within the layout. Simple, innocent and fun, right? What could possibly go wrong? Within an hour of posting the contest, we received our first comment. We expected it to say something like, “How fun” or “(insert tagged name) you made the Hilton-Parma Parks & Recreation cover photo contest!” Instead, it said: “How about some diversity?? Why so white (teardrop Emoji)?” Our world stopped for a few anx-

We’ve adopted the 24-hour rule regarding disgruntled or controversial correspondence, so as not to let emotion or initial feelings cloud our judgment. 22 Parks & Recreation

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iety-filled moments, as we viewed those seven words and emoji. And, to make matters worse, we had specifically asked people to “share” this post, so it caught the eyes of more people than the average post. Once the initial shock wore off, we had to form a plan. One option was to take the post down, but doing so violates a person’s freedom of speech, so we decided to keep the post. The other options included privately reaching out to the individual, doing nothing or responding. In a world where exceptional customer service is associated with an immediate response time, we’ve adopted the 24-hour rule regarding disgruntled or controversial correspondence, so as not to let emotion or initial feelings cloud our judgment. In this case, it was necessary to formulate and disperse a well-thought-out response before anyone else replied to the initial comment. So, our response was as follows: We are sorry you see this (post) this way, as we accept and welcome everyone…to us, we are all the same in one particular way; we come together to have fun….Our covers are

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This situation presented several challenges, such as reacting to unfavorable social media comments, handling the tornado of undesirable conversation they created and receiving the feedback of an individual who did not agree with part of our operations. chosen based on the quality of the photo and their surroundings, nothing more. Done! Crisis averted. Not quite. Later that day, the original individual responded to our statement and the situation began to spiral out of control. Several people began to interact, and, to our surprise, all their comments were in defense of the department. However, these comments were serious attacks on, and threats directed at, the individual who posted the original comment. Politics and race were thrown around in the conversations as well. This continued throughout the night, and, at every notification, I wanted to respond but feared adding fuel to an already large fire. Fortunately, by early morning, the comments died down and, by then, we had issued a statement expressing our disappointment with the reaction received from such an innocent Facebook post, calling for community togetherness, as opposed to division, and asking people to end the commentary. In the aftermath, the individual who posted the initial comment privately messaged us to request a meeting. With some trepidation, we obliged, and at that meeting, the individual expressed the intent of the post. To provide a little background, our community 24 Parks & Recreation

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is predominantly white. This individual is also white but explained that although our community may be majority white, photos predominantly featuring said majority may not provide a feeling of welcome to those in the minority. Their intent was not to imply that we should force anything, but to suggest a conscious awareness of diversity in our marketing efforts. We absolutely agree with the concept, as we want everyone to experience our services. This discussion changed the way we looked at our photos and what message they may project outside the obvious ones of fun and enjoyment. Our very next brochure cover featured three children of three different ethnicities enjoying one of our events. An Opportunity to Learn and Grow This situation presented several challenges, such as reacting to unfavorable social media comments, handling the tornado of undesirable conversation they created and receiving the feedback of an individual who did not agree with part of our operations. For the latter, we, sometimes, shut these doors or brush off such feedback, carrying on as we always have. Had we shut the door in this case, we may have never learned a valuable lesson. In the end, this negative social

media experience brought about some real good. It presented our team with the opportunity to learn and grow. Not every situation will produce such a positive outcome, but we believe we are more equipped to handle the next one, and I do not doubt there will be a “next one” (knock on wood). The opportunity for individuals to share their opinions of us is increasing daily and across platforms we may or may not be aware of. Positive feedback is great, but we all know that a shared negative experience can be far more harmful than dozens or even hundreds of the favorable reviews. How many times have you reviewed a product or service and been turned off by a negative review even though there

were many more positive ones? Going forward, we must be willing to accept the surveillance of our institutions and ourselves by others. It is everywhere, and for parks and recreation, it is no different. If we recognize this, we can be prepared to handle challenging situations when they arise. It may not always be possible to make lemonade out of lemons, but it is possible to discover an opportunity to learn and grow. Note: The author thanks Ananda Mitra, Ph.D., professor of Communication, Wake Forest University, in whose presentation, titled “You Are Being Watched: User Surveillance of Recreation Providers,” he was introduced to the concept of person-to-institution surveillance.

Thomas Venniro is the Director of Hilton-Parma Parks & Recreation (tvenniro@parmany.org).

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The Vexing Problem of Latin Crosses in Public Parks By Richard J. Dolesh


atin crosses, the traditional symbols of Christianity, have had a long association with publicly owned places, especially parks. Throughout much of the 20th century, such crosses were erected without serious concern they may violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, namely that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….” In practical terms, when it comes to monuments with religious symbolism, the Establishment Clause

Mount Davidson Cross

26 Parks & Recreation

has meant that no such religious monuments shall be placed, or allowed to remain, on government-owned property. To do so would give the appearance or symbolize the reality that government favors one religion over another. It is a simple and straightforward prohibition. However, over the past century, there have been many Latin crosses erected in parks and public plazas, and their presence has led to literally decades of litigation to remove them, alter them or transfer the land on which they sit to non-public owners. Courts have issued conflicting interpretations regarding this bedrock constitutional principle, and those not of Christian faith have objected strenuously that such symbols are harmful and impermissibly relegate non-Christians to a lesser status. Groups, such as the American Humanist Association and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, have sued to have such crosses removed from their publicly owned settings, prompting outpourings of civic pride, because, over the decades, the crosses have come to have cultural, historic and even economic value from tourism. Some communities have dug in to keep such crosses in their

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original locations and have even fought against the simple solution of transferring the land to nongovernmental entities. A Secular or Religious Symbol? The most recent case of crosses in parks to come before the Supreme Court involves the 40-foottall Peace Cross that sits on a sliver of public parkland, owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), amid highway intersections in Bladensburg, Maryland. As Professor James Kozlowski of George Mason University describes in his Law Review column on page 32 of this issue, this case of a Latin cross on public land in Maryland hinged on whether the Peace Cross was primarily a secular symbol that, first, did not violate constitutional norms, second, did not advance or inhibit religion and, third, did not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. The Supreme Court decision allowing the Peace Cross to remain in place surprised some court observers. While the 7–2 vote indicated a significant majority of the court was in favor of it remaining, seven judges wrote separate opinions of widely diverging points of view. In Justice Ginsburg’s forceful dissent, she wrote “Just as a Star of David is not suitable to honor Christians who died serving their country, so a cross is not suitable to honor those of other faiths who died

defending their nation. Soldiers of all faiths are united by their love of country, but they not united by the cross.” Adrian Gardner, general counsel of the MNCPPC, said in an interview following the decision: “Our planning board took a courageous stand. Part of our original reason for being [a park and planning commission] is our preservation purpose. Our case was strong. This cross was not built with a religious purpose in mind.” He went on to emphasize what was a crucial point in their defense about the original intent of historic memorials and monuments and how perceptions of their meaning can change over time. “I kept telling people ‘Remember the Alamo.’

That historic site was originally a Catholic church and is now operated by the National Park Service as a National Historic Monument. Today it has a new meaning. Symbols can change over time and serve other purposes.” Perhaps, that is why many communities will fight to keep crosses in their original historic location and context. The Mount Soledad cross is another large Latin cross built atop the highest point of a hill with a commanding, spectacular view of the city of San Diego and surrounding landscape. The original cross dated from 1913, but the most recent cross, a large stucco cross that’s 29 feet tall, was erected in 1954 to honor Korean War veterans. It sat not in a park, but on

land owned by the Department of Defense. After 25 years of continuous litigation, the parties to the suit agreed to a resolution in which the cross and the immediate land around it were sold to a private nonprofit foundation, while the surrounding land became Soledad Natural Park of the City of San Diego. Access to the memorial is through the park. The fate of a large wooden cross at the top of Black Rock Mountain, elevation 3,000 feet, in rural Rabun County in northeastern Georgia, became a matter of fierce civic pride after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued because it was located in the middle of a state park campground. “It united this community like nothing be-

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A group gathers at the Peace Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, circa 1920s.

fore,” said Bill Jarret of the Chamber of Commerce in an interview with The Washington Post in 1979. When the cross fell, citizens were not allowed to replace it. However, a new cross was erected in 2009 on Black Rock Mountain on land owned by the Raburn Cross Society. In San Francisco, a cross known as the Mount Davidson cross that’s more than 100 feet tall was erected, with a clear Christian intent, on what was originally private land. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, via the press of a telegraph key, lit the Mount Davidson cross from the White House in 1934, a few days before Easter. Visible from many viewing points in the city, the Mount Davidson cross sits in the middle of 20 acres at the 28 Parks & Recreation

top of a hill on land the city eventually purchased for a public park. Easter sunrise services were held from the cross for decades and even broadcast from the park in the 1950s and ’60s. Eventually, the religious purpose of this cross was seen as improper on government-owned land, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress and Americans United for Separation of Church and State sued the city for its violation of the Establishment Clause. The cross was ruled illegal in 1996, and, in 1997, the city auctioned off a half-acre of land on which the cross sat. That half acre was acquired by the Council of Armenian Organizations of Northern California, which installed a plaque to memorialize the victims of the 1915 Armenian genocide. By court agreement, the cross is lit two days per year. In Pensacola, Florida, a suit brought by the American Humanist Association and joined by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, asserted that a Latin cross that’s been standing since 1941 in Bayview Park, violated the Constitution and must be removed. A federal district court judge declared this cross unconstitutional in 2016, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2018. In response to a question if non-Christians in the community object to the cross or

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if there is general acceptance for its historic and cultural value, the city replied: “The current city administration is not aware of any objections to the cross had been raised prior to this lawsuit. Again, the city’s position is that the Bayview Cross is a valuable part of our history, and we feel that our efforts to defend the cross reflect the overall sentiments of our community as a whole.” It is uncertain what impact the Supreme Court decision on the Bladensburg Peace Cross will have on the cross in Bayview Park. Representatives for the city are continuing to work to keep the cross at its current location in Bayview Park, as the city awaits a new ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The cross, they say, is a valuable part of Pensacola’s history and sense of community at the park. Whether the Supreme Court decision on the Peace Cross continues to reverberate through cities and states that have other monuments and memorials with religious symbols remains to be seen. It is not surprising to note that parks are often at the heart of some of the most important First Amendment issues our nation faces. Parks are a place where our values and principles as a democracy are shaped and the crucible in which they are forged. The exercise of our unalienable rights — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — and the continuing issues of freedoms which are at the heart of our democracy will continue to be defined by the public spaces we know and value — our public parks. Richard J. Dolesh is NRPA’s Vice President of Strategic Initiatives (rdolesh@nrpa.org).

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Strengthening Federally Funded Summer Meal Sites Tell Congress not to rain on our congregate parade By Kate Clabaugh, MSW


ummertime should be fun. Kids should be able to run, play, learn and eat healthy. The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) enables youth-serving organizations, like park and recreation agencies, Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCAs, to invite kids into programs, serve healthy meals and snacks, offer opportunities for summer learning and physical activities, and provide emotional and social support. These congregate sites are the gold standard — keeping kids active, healthy, engaged and safe when their parents are at work. The congregate requirement of SFSP is what makes summer programming possible for low-income children, especially for those whose parents are unable to afford to enroll them in more structured camps. Congregate sites are available in thousands of urban, suburban and rural communities across the country. For summer 2018, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service estimates that 5,707 SFSP

30 Parks & Recreation

sites identified as park and recreation facilities, with another 5,000 sites identifying as a community center, local government program, playground, swimming pool or nature center. In addition,

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since 2010, NRPA, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, has calculated that through the Commit to Health initiative 85 million meals have been served to 4.5 million youth in more than 300 communities.

Child Nutrition Reauthorization Congress is currently considering the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s school and out-of-school time nutrition programs (i.e., the National School Lunch Program, the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program). The debate around potential changes to the SFSP stems from whether we believe the site-based congregate model is addressing childhood hunger in the summer months. But, for so many park and recreation agencies, the summer meal

Co-Sponsor the Summer Meals Act (S. 1908/H.R. 2818) sites are so much more than a meal for the participating children and community.

Healthy Food and Summer Enrichment A critical part of this nation’s nutritional safety net, the summer meals program combats childhood hunger, which increases for low-income children when they lose access to free school meals. In addition, youth-serving organizations are uniquely positioned to offer educational and enrichment activities to mitigate the harm of the “summer slide” that occurs when children are not attending school or lack learning opportunity during the summer months. Through healthy meals combined with enrichment activities, NRPA stands with its partners at the YMCA of the USA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in asking Congress to protect the sites and programs made possible by the current structure and operation of the Summer Food Service Program. We need your help to strengthen these sites, encourage new sites, and increase participation and number of meals served. Congress can do this by investing in transportation, streamlining administrative paperwork, allowing for an additional meal and aligning site-location eligibility to match that of several federal educational grants. It’s not too late to tell your members of Congress to stop raining on our congregate parade and invest in the site-based model. Kate Clabaugh, MSW, is NRPA’s Director of Government Affairs (kclabaugh@nrpa.org).

The Summer Meals Act of 2019 (S. 1908/H.R. 2818), introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Representatives Don Young (R-Alaska) and Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), would increase the reach of the Summer Nutrition Programs. The Summer Nutrition Programs help close the summer nutrition gap and support educational and enrichment programs that keep children learning, engaged and safe when school is out. Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Summer Meals Act to show their support for including these portions of the bill in the final Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Specifically, this bill includes language that would: • Allow local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations to feed children year-round through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). This would relieve the administrative burden on park and recreation agencies from serving meals through the Summer Food Service Program during the summer months and having to switch to the at-risk afterschool meal component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program during the school year. By structuring a year-round program to operate as the SFSP, Congress can also ensure that providers are receiving the higher meal reimbursement rate available in SFSP and the functionality of the SFSP enjoyed by thousands of sites nationwide managed by park and recreation agencies. • Provide funding for transportation grants to support innovative solutions to increase access to summer meal sites. With support from the Walmart Foundation, Little Rock Parks and Recreation developed a cross-sector partnership with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and Rock Region METRO to launch a citywide transportation initiative, called Be Mighty Metro, for summer 2019. Since June, pass holders have taken more than 12,000 rides on the public transportation system with more than 1,200 individuals registering for bus passes. The number of summer meals served at libraries increased by 46 percent (compared to June 2018) and the CALS summer reading numbers have also grown substantially, from 7,733 youth in 2018 to 13,652 engaged in 2019. In addition to helping families access summer meals and enrichment activities, there were numerous additional benefits attributed to the program — parents and caregivers could now take the bus to work, to the grocery store, to medical appointments or to parks, splash pads and community events. The program provided huge ($200–$300/month) cost savings to families — money that could be used to purchase healthy foods, school supplies or pay for other family needs. An extra benefit is the role that public transportation plays in environmental sustainability. • Allow all sites to serve a third meal. Currently, sites are only allowed to serve up to two meals and a snack per day. Allowing all sites to serve a third meal would enable day-long programs managed by park and recreation agencies to extend their hours for working families, ensure evening programs are feasible, especially those designed for older youth, and relieve the financial burden faced by some agencies that have been serving that additional meal from their own budget. Contact NRPA’s director of government affairs, Kate Clabaugh (kclabaugh@nrpa. org), to find out how you can reach out to your members of Congress.

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Longstanding Historic Cross Constitutional Challenge By James C. Kozlowski, J.D., Ph.D.


n the case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association, 204 L. Ed. 2d 452, 2019 U.S. LEXIS 4182, 139 S. Ct. 2067 (U.S. 6/20/2019), the issue before the Supreme Court of the United States was whether a Latin cross war memorial, located on land owned and maintained by a public park agency, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment in the U.S. Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” Since 1925, the Bladensburg Peace Cross (Cross) has stood as a tribute to 49 area soldiers who gave their lives in the First World War. The monument is a 32-foot tall Latin cross that sits on a large pedestal. The American Legion’s emblem is displayed at its center, and the words “Valor,” “Endurance,” “Courage” and “Devotion” are inscribed at its base, one on each of the four faces.

32 Parks & Recreation

The pedestal also features a 9-foot by 2.5-foot bronze plaque, explaining that the monument is “Dedicated to the heroes of Prince George’s County, Maryland, who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.” The plaque lists the names of the 49 local men, both black and white, who died in the war. It identifies the dates of American involvement, and quotes President Woodrow

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Wilson’s request for a declaration of war: “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.” In late 1918, county residents formed a committee “for the purpose of erecting a memorial for the county’s fallen soldiers.” The committee decided that the memorial should be a cross, adopting a symbol “so widely associated with the wrenching event” of World War I. The Cross was to stand at the terminus of another World War I memorial — the National Defense Highway, which connects Washington to Annapolis. The committee hired a sculptor and architect to design the cross

and began community fundraising events that included a form, which read as follows: We, the citizens of Maryland, trusting in God, the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Pledge Faith in our Brothers who gave their all in the World War to make the World Safe for Democracy. Their Mortal Bodies have turned to dust, but their spirit Lives to guide us through Life in the way of Godliness, Justice and Liberty. With our Motto, ‘One God, One Country, and One Flag’ We contribute to this Memorial Cross Commemorating the Memory of those who have not Died in Vain. The community gathered for a joint groundbreaking ceremony for both World War I memorials September 28, 1919, and the mother of the first Prince George’s County resident killed in France broke ground for the Cross. By 1922, however, the committee had run out of funds, stalling progress on the Cross. The local post of the American Legion took over the project, and the monument was finished in 1925. As the area around the Cross developed, the monument became the center of a busy intersection. In 1961, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC or Commission) acquired the Cross and the land on which it sits in order to preserve the monument and address traffic-safety concerns. The American Legion reserved the right to continue using the memorial to host various ceremonies, including events in memory of departed veterans. Over the next five decades, the Commission spent approximately $117,000 to maintain and preserve the monument. In 2008, it budgeted an additional $100,000 for renovations and repairs to the Cross. In 2012, nearly 90 years after the Cross was dedicated and more than 50 years after MNCPPC acquired it, the American Humanist Association lodged a complaint with MNCPPC, alleging the Cross’s presence on public land and that MNCPPC’s maintenance of the memorial was offensive and a violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause. The American Humanist Association, along with three residents of Washington, D.C. and Maryland (AHA) subsequently sued MNCPPC in the federal district court, making the same Establishment Clause claim. The AHA sought declaratory and injunctive relief, requiring “removal or demolition of the Cross, or removal of the arms from the Cross to form a non-religious slab or obelisk.” The American Legion intervened in the lawsuit against MNCPPC to defend the Cross.

As the area around the Cross developed, the monument became the center of a busy intersection. Lemon Test Application The federal district court granted summary judgment to MNCPPC and the American Legion. In so doing, the district court found the Cross satisfied the “threepronged test” announced by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S. Ct. 2105, 29 L. Ed. 2d 745 (1971). Under the “Lemon” test, to overcome an Establishment Clause challenge, federal courts have had to determine whether a government action satisfied the following criteria: (1) has a secular purpose; (2) has a principal or primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) does not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion. In this instance, the federal district court found

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were “overshadowed by the Cross’s size and Christian connection.” The appeals court found the Cross’s location and condition would make it difficult for passersby to read or otherwise examine the plaque and American Legion emblem. Further, the appeals court rejected as “too simplistic” an argument “defending the Cross’s constitutionality on the basis of its 90year history.” On the contrary, the appeals court noted: “the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended.” Also, in the opinion of the appeals court, MNCPPC “had become excessively entangled with religion” by keeping a display that “aggrandizes the Latin cross” and by spending more than “de minimis [i.e., trivial, insignificant] public funds to maintain it.”

Secular Cross History

The Supreme Court held the Bladensburg Cross did not violate the Establishment Clause since it commemorates American soldiers killed in World War I.

MNCPPC had “secular purposes for acquiring and maintaining the Cross — namely, to commemorate World War I and to ensure traffic safety.” Moreover, the court found: “a reasonable observer aware of the Cross’s history, setting, and secular elements ‘would not view the Monument as having the effect of impermissibly endorsing religion.’” Further, the court found MNCPPC’s “maintenance of the memorial” did not “create the kind of continued and repeated government involvement with religion that would constitute an excessive 34 Parks & Recreation

entanglement.” As a result, the federal district court held “the Cross is constitutional.” The federal appeals court reversed the judgment of the federal district court. While recognizing MNCPPC had acted for a secular purpose, the appeals court held that “the Bladensburg Cross failed Lemon’s ‘effects’ prong because a reasonable observer would view the Commission’s ownership and maintenance of the monument as an endorsement of Christianity.” In so doing, the appeals court emphasized “the cross’s inherent religious meaning as the preeminent symbol of Christianity.” In the opinion of the appeals court, the secular elements of the monument

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The Supreme Court of the United States granted a petition by MNCPPC and the American Legion to review the decision of the federal appeals court. While recognizing “the cross has long been a preeminent Christian symbol,” the Supreme Court found “the Bladensburg memorial has a special significance,” which must be viewed in its “historical context.” As characterized by the Supreme Court: “For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought.” Moreover, the Court found the Cross had become a “prominent community landmark” whose “removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as

a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.” Furthermore, it found “no evidence of discriminatory intent in the selection of the design of the memorial or the decision of a Maryland commission to maintain it. According to the Court, the “Religion Clauses” of the First Amendment (i.e., Freedom of Religion and the Establishment Clause) “aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously.” In the opinion of the Court, “the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim” in the Constitution. While the cross has retained widespread use as a symbol of Christianity since the fourth century, the Court found “many contexts in which the symbol has also taken on a secular meaning,” noting “instances in which its message is now almost entirely secular”: A cross appears as part of many registered trademarks held by businesses and secular organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Bayer Group, and some Johnson & Johnson products. Many of these marks relate to health care, and it is likely that the association of the cross with healing had a religious origin. But the current use of these marks is indisputably secular. Similarly, the Court found that: “The image used in the Bladensburg memorial — a plain Latin cross — also took on new meaning after World War I” to reflect a “central symbol” for “all those who understand the meaning of the great conflict”; i.e., “a symbol

of the sacrifice in war” marked by the image of World I cemetery “crosses row on row.” According to the Court, this secular recognition of “the cross’s symbolism extended to local communities across the

country, including Prince George’s County, Maryland”: Since its dedication, the Cross has served as the site of patriotic events honoring veterans, including gatherings on Veterans Day,

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Memorial Day, and Independence Day. Like the dedication itself, these events have typically included an invocation, a keynote speaker, and a benediction. Over the years, the Court noted memorials honoring the veterans of other conflicts had been added to the surrounding area, which is now known as Veterans Memorial Park. These memorials included a World War II Honor Scroll, a Pearl Harbor memorial, a Korea-Vietnam

Over the years, the Court noted memorials honoring the veterans of other conflicts had been added to the surrounding area, which is now known as Veterans Memorial Park. veterans memorial, a September 11 garden, a War of 1812 memorial and two recently added 38-foottall markers, depicting British and American soldiers in the Battle of Bladensburg. The Court found the closest of these other monuments is about 200 feet away in a park across the road because the Cross is “located on a traffic island with limited space.”

Lemon Framework Inadequate According to the Supreme Court, “pinning down the meaning of a law respecting an establishment of religion has proved to be a vexing problem” which the “Lemon test” was designed to “bring order and predictability to Establishment Clause decision-making.” As characterized by the Court, the Lemon test “called on courts to examine the purposes and effects of a challenged 36 Parks & Recreation

government action, as well as any entanglement with religion that it might entail.” Specifically, federal courts would assess the “effects of a challenged action” and “ask whether a reasonable observer would conclude that the action constituted an endorsement of religion.” In the opinion of the Court, however, the Lemon test had not created a framework for deciding all future Establishment Clause cases. On the contrary, the Supreme Court found that “this Court has either expressly declined to apply the test or has simply ignored it.” Moreover, in the opinion of the Court, the Lemon test “could not explain numerous examples of the Establishment Clause’s tolerance, including prayers that open legislative meetings; certain references to, and invocations of, the Deity in the public words of public officials; the public references to God on coins, decrees, and buildings” and “the attention paid to the religious objectives of certain holidays, including Thanksgiving.” In this instance, the Court found application of the Lemon test presented “particularly daunting problems” for cases that involved “the use, for ceremonial, celebratory, or commemorative purposes, of words or symbols with religious associations.” In such instances, the Court decided not to apply the Lemon test but to evaluate these cases “toward application of a presumption of constitutionality for longstanding monuments, symbols, and practices.”

Passage of Time Factors Accordingly, as a more practical alternative approach to the Lemon test, the Supreme Court adopted the following four consider-

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ations for “retaining established, religiously expressive monuments, symbols, and practices”: First, these cases often concern monuments, symbols, or practices that were first established long ago, and in such cases, identifying their original purpose or purposes may be especially difficult. Second, as time goes by, the purposes associated with an established monument, symbol, or practice often multiply. Third, just as the purpose for maintaining a monument, symbol, or practice may evolve, the ‘message’ conveyed may change over time. Fourth, when time’s passage imbues a religiously expressive monument, symbol, or practice with this kind of familiarity and historical significance, removing it may no longer appear neutral, especially to the local community for which it has taken on particular meaning. While the “passage of time gives rise to a strong presumption of constitutionality” for such longstanding monuments, the Court cautioned that these considerations would be “quite different” when government is “erecting or adopting” new monuments that contain religious symbols. In distinguishing new monuments from longstanding monuments, the Court found the passage of time might obscure the original sentiment and purpose of a monument infused with religion. Moreover, according to the Court, as “our society becomes more and more religiously diverse, a community may preserve such monuments, symbols, and practices for the sake of their historical significance or their place in a common cultural heritage”:

With sufficient time, religiously expressive monuments, symbols, and practices can become embedded features of a community’s landscape and identity. The community may come to value them without necessarily embracing their religious roots. Further, in the opinion of the Court: “A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion.” Similarly, in the case of World War I monuments that have “endured through the years and become a familiar part of the physical and cultural heritage,” the Court found “a campaign to obliterate items with religious associations may ev-

idence hostility to religion even if those religious associations are no longer in the forefront.” As noted by the Court: “The passage of time means that testimony from those actually involved in the decision-making process is generally unavailable and attempting to uncover their motivations invites rampant speculation.” Regardless of “the original purposes for the erection of a monument,” the Court acknowledged “a community may wish to preserve it for very different reasons, such as the historic preservation and traffic-safety concerns the Commission has pressed here.” Further, the Court found “the passage of time may have altered the area surrounding a monument in ways that change its meaning and provide new rea-

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sons for its preservation.” In this instance, the Court found such changes, over time, were relevant because “the Bladensburg Cross now sits at a busy traffic intersection, and numerous additional monuments are located nearby.” On appeal, the AHA had acknowledged “there are instances in which a war memorial in the form of a cross is unobjectionable,” particularly on public grounds in a military cemetery, like Arlington National Cemetery, where there is “a closer association with individual gravestones and interred soldiers.” The Court rejected the notion that a memorial’s placement was necessary to create such a connection. In the opinion of the Court, “a World War I cross remains a memorial in the fallen” whether it’s “in a cemetery or a city park.”




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In addition, the Court found an examination of historical context would also apply to “other memorials and monuments honoring important figures in our Nation’s history,” which might include a natural “symbolic reference to faith in the design of the memorial.” The Court

Having found that “World War I monuments have endured through the years and become a familiar part of the physical and cultural landscape,” the Court reiterated its concern that “a campaign to obliterate items with religious associations may evidence hostility to religion even if those religious associations are no longer in the forefront.” cited the example of “the Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Memorial Park in Seattle, which contains a sculpture in three segments representing both the Christian Trinity and the union of the family.” The Court also noted that “National Statuary Hall in the Capitol honors a variety of religious figures,” in which the monuments include religious symbols acknowledging “the centrality of faith to those whose lives are commemorated.” Having found that “World War I monuments have endured through the years and become a familiar part of the physical and cultural landscape,” the Court reiterated its concern that “a campaign to obliterate items with religious associations may evidence hostility to religion even if those religious associations are no longer in the forefront.” 38 Parks & Recreation

Guidance of History While the Lemon test “ambitiously attempted to find a grand unified theory of the Establishment Clause,” the Court found later cases had “taken a more modest approach that focuses on the particular issue at hand and looks to history for guidance.” Specifically, the Court acknowledged the trend has been to find constitutional “categories of monuments, symbols, and practices with a longstanding history” and cultural tradition. Applying these principles, to the facts of this case, the Supreme Court held the Bladensburg Cross did not violate the Establishment Clause. According to the Court, the design of the Bladensburg Cross must be understood in light of its background and special significance as a symbol commemorating the sacrifice of American soldiers killed in World War I. While “the cross originated as a Christian symbol and retains that meaning in many contexts,” the Court found this “does not change the fact that the symbol took on an added secular meaning when used in World War I memorials”: Not only did the Bladensburg Cross begin with this meaning, but with the passage of time, it has acquired historical importance. It reminds the people of Bladensburg and surrounding areas of the deeds of their predecessors and of the sacrifices they made in a war fought in the name of democracy. As long as it is retained in its original place and form, it speaks as well of the community that erected the monument nearly a century ago and has maintained it ever since. Further, the Court noted “the

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monument commemorates the death of particular individuals,” and it was, therefore, “natural and appropriate for those seeking to honor the deceased to invoke the symbols that signify what death meant for those who are memorialized.” While acknowledging the cross is “undoubtedly a Christian symbol,” the Court once again noted “that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent”: For some, that monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices for our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark. For many of these people, destroying or defacing the Cross that has stood undisturbed for nearly a century would not be neutral and would not further the ideals of respect and tolerance embodied in the First Amendment. For all these reasons, the Cross does not offend the Constitution. As a result, by a vote of 7 to 2, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the federal appeals court that had found a violation of the Establishment Cause and remanded (i.e., sent back) the case for further proceedings to enter a judgment upholding the constitutionality of the existing Bladensburg Peace Cross.

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 (jkozlows@ gmu.edu). Webpage with link to law review articles archive (1982 to present): http://mason.gmu.edu/~jkozlows.

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H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

Senior Centers: Reimagining Aging and Exploring New Opportunities By Lesha Spencer-Brown, MPH, CPH

Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. — Betty Friedan, American Author and Activist This September, NRPA will join the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC) (www.ncoa.org/ national-institute-of-seniorcenters) in celebrating National Senior Center Month. This year’s theme, “Senior Centers: The Key to Aging Well,” aims to highlight the importance of senior centers in providing opportunities for older adults to connect with vital community resources to help them improve their health and maintain a good quality of life. 40 Parks & Recreation

Aging is often approached with fear and uncertainty in our society. Getting older, for many, is associated with not being able to do the things one was once capable of doing, losing one’s independence and becoming dependent on kids and grandkids or community members. There’s also the possibility of having to move out of one’s home into a nursing home or some type of assisted living facility. And, for those who can stay in their homes, there’s concern about not being able to connect with and contribute to the community. However, this does not have to be what’s expected as we get older.

The Evolution of Senior Centers For decades, senior centers have

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helped older Americans remain active, engaged and independent in their communities. They have provided them with tools, resources and opportunities to improve and maintain their health, as well as with outlets for continuing education, mentoring and volunteering; and for socializing and rekindling friendships or making new friends. “Whether we are stepping to the beat, at a city park or into a yoga pose, the goal of the Older Americans Center is to create a socially pleasant and positive experience for everyone,” says Kaci Wehr, community engagement coordinator at the Older Americans Center (https://tinyurl.com/yxbajvc6), operated by the City of Jasper Parks and Recreation in Indiana. “With

a growing active-aging population, we have responded by encouraging healthy living for each individual that steps in our door. Serving our county’s residents age 55 and up, the Jasper Park and Recreation’s Older Americans Center strives to create an environment of social, mental and physical well-being.” Since the first senior center — William Hodson Community Center — opened in the Bronx, New York, 76 years ago, the more than 10,000 senior centers across the United States that collectively serve more than 1 million older adults each day have significantly evolved. Today’s senior centers are being reinvented to meet the changing and diverse needs of a rapidly growing aging population. They now offer wraparound services that include everything from transportation and mental and social health programs, to physical health, meal and nutrition programs, and social services assistance; including employment assistance, tax preparation, benefits counseling and case management. They also offer support groups for individuals and their caregivers, intergenerational and LGBTQ activities, special events, such as talent shows and health fairs, and inclusive programs for new Americans and people with disabilities. Furthermore, centers are offering “beyond the walls” activities, such as coordinated trips to the grocery store and malls; field trips to museums, concerts and state parks; and opportunities to join breakfast and lunch “restaurant groups.” In addition to transforming the types of programs and services offered, senior centers are being renamed to reflect the welcoming environment awaiting all older adults, from the youngest older adult to

the oldest older adult. Results from a Google search of senior centers bring up names, such as “Active Adult Center,” “Lifelong Learning Center,” “Active Aging Center,” “60+ Activity Center.” This is an important shift, as nearly half of local park and recreation agencies target individuals 50 years and older for their older adult programming. Unsurprisingly, this shift in focus is driving the need for programs tailored to this wide age group of older adults (50 plus to centenarians) with varying abilities and interests. Programs are thoughtfully and intentionally scheduled for the various age groups to ensure that they can participate. The reality is that many older adults are still actively engaged in the workforce. We all age! Fortunately, the negative stereotypes surrounding aging are shifting, and more and more aging adults are embracing their older years. They are stepping into this phase of their lives with a sense of pride and the determination that age will not define them or their abilities. They are constantly seeking out ways and opportunities to continue to lead healthy, fulfilling lives and contribute to their communities. Parks and recreation continues to have a major role to play in helping older adults achieve these goals. Lesha Spencer-Brown, MPH, CPH, is NRPA’s Health and Wellness Senior Program Manager (lspencer@nrpa.org).

A Senior Center Success Story For the past several years, Cynthia has grappled with her weight and mobility and has had to use a walker and a cane for her daily limited activities. “When walking through the Senior Center halls, I would huff and puff,” Cynthia explains. “I knew I needed to change my lifestyle of eating and just being healthier.” To this end, she enrolled in the Rockville (Maryland) Senior Center’s Eight-Week Fitness Challenge, offered by the City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks, Senior Services Division. Participants in this eight-week challenge must track their minutes of physical activity every day, which could include the use of the center’s exercise equipment, such as treadmills and elliptical machines at the center’s fitness room, or any of its more than 55 weekly exercise classes. In the weeks following Cynthia’s participation in the challenge, she also enlisted the assistance of one of the center’s eight personal trainers to help further her success. Today, Cynthia is no longer using her walker for most of her daily activities and has lost 65 pounds! Her achievement has been a dream come true for her. “Being encouraged, morally supported and the compliments made me want to do more and get others to do the same,” she says proudly. “It is an extraordinary process to behold when watching members reach their health and wellness goals,” says the center’s sports and fitness supervisor Christine Klopfer. The Rockville Senior Center fitness program offers a state-of-the-art gym, exercise classes of all levels, including yoga, Zumba, “Drums Alive” and balance training. Note: Cynthia’s story was obtained through NRPA’s How Do You Promote Healthy Aging in Parks Success Story Contest (www.nrpa.org/healthyaging-in-parks-photo-contest).

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Baltimore Ecosystem Study staff members clip and vacuum grass from a residential lawn as part of their residential carbon sampling fieldwork.

The Baltimore Ecosystem Study Understanding metropolitan Baltimore as a living, ecological system By Karl Schrass


Some Baltimore Ecosystem Study Findings

Every day, examples of how intertwined people are with their environment are evident, even in densely developed cities where not much nature seems to be left. We see it in places like Ellicott City, Maryland, only 10 miles outside of Baltimore, which was devastated by two “1,000-year floods� within two years, the result of a quickly overdeveloped watershed or stories like that of P-22, the mountain

In 1980, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded research programs at 28 sites, the first LongTerm Ecological Research (LTER) sites, to provide a longer view to support ecological discovery on the influence of long-term and largescale phenomenon. Each LTER site involves dozens of researchers and typically includes microbial, community and landscape ecologists, as well as hydrologists, geochemists, social scientists, economists and even the occasional artist, historian or philosopher. The shared knowledge of place offers

ow do humans and nature interact in cities? How do social, political and economic factors shape the urban environment? And, how do urban areas challenge our thinking about what is natural? These questions are becoming increasingly important, as the number of people living in cities grows every year. Currently, the 50 largest cities in the United States account for more than 50 percent of the total population, and the growth of cities is projected to continue for the foreseeable future.

42 Parks & Recreation

lion that has taken up residence below the famous Hollywood sign in Griffith Park. There is a clear need for a more nuanced understanding of the reciprocal relationships that influence urban environments; yet, very few cities have long-term data on how the complex interactions between people and nature have changed over time. But, Baltimore, host city for the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference, is one of the best

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understood urban ecosystems in the world.


Baltimore Ecosystem Study staff at Carroll Park, the third-oldest city park, manually “grab” a water sample from Gwynns Falls as part of water-quality testing.

unusual common ground for exploring disciplinary intersections. The Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) is a groundbreaking urban ecology research project that launched in 1997 and, 22 years later, is still collecting a tremendous amount of data and producing novel and important research. As one of the NSF’s 28 LTER sites, the BES aims to understand the city as a living, ecological system and has brought together researchers from across the country to investigate the unique urban aspect on topics as varied as hydrology, biology, geography, environmental justice, epidemiology and environmental chemistry. Over the past two decades, this work has resulted in dozens of findings that have 44 Parks & Recreation

reshaped the way nature — and parks — are perceived in urban areas around the world. One of the misconceptions the BES has helped to upend is the association of crime with natural areas in cities. Natural areas in cities, especially in neighborhoods with higher levels of criminal activity, have often been decried as hot spots for nefarious behavior. However, in 2012, a group of researchers found that the presence of street trees correlated with lower rates of crime in some of West Baltimore’s most economically depressed neighborhoods. Even when controlling for a variety of other socioeconomic factors, the research pointed to the presence of trees as a significant factor in the reduction in criminal behavior. Subsequent studies in 2015 and 2016, found that people living in communities with greater tree cover felt a deeper connection with their neighbors and that well-maintained yards are associated with lower levels of crime, again while controlling for other factors. While nature can improve the quality of life in neighborhoods, the BES has also found that historical formal and informal practices of racial discrimination, such as segregation and “redlining,” — the practice of denying access to financial services and products, such as mortgages to majority-black, inner-city neighborhoods — led to environmental injustices. These injustices, such as urban heat islands and lack of access to park and recreation facilities, continue to this day. In addition to showing the benefits of natural features to the safety of Baltimore’s poorest neighborhoods, the BES found that concern for the environment is widely held

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by residents across the city and across a wide range of income. A survey of Baltimore residents’ views on the environment revealed that both low- and high-income and rich neighborhoods cared about their natural environment, especially regarding the connection between the environment and health. The BES has also uncovered surprisingly rich biodiversity within the city, challenging the common perception of cities as ecologically destructive areas dominated by exotic and invasive species. While the speed and scale of urbanization has a net negative impact on global biodiversity, individual urban areas yield a surprising amount of biodiversity within the city. Looking across studies done to assess diversity in plant, insect and bird communities, researchers found native species across the city and, in many cases, native species are more dominant than non-native ones. Perhaps, surprisingly, exotic species are not always a threat to native ones. They can, for instance, support robust native pollinator populations, and invasive earthworms are an important food source for native bird populations. More information on the BES can be found at baltimoreecosystemstudy.org. The 22 years of research this study has provided, offers us not only an abundance of resources and tools to create and maintain better natural spaces in cities, but also sound scientific arguments for the value parks provide to communities across the socioeconomic spectrum. Karl Schrass is NRPA’s Director of Conservation (kschrass@nrpa.org).

The Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks announces its inaugural Partnerships Lab participants

Congratulations to our new partners! NATIONAL PROGRAM • Balboa Park Conservancy - Balboa Park (San Diego, CA) • Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation - Republic Square (Austin, TX) • Forest Park Conservancy - Forest Park (Portland, OR) • Parks & People Foundation - Baltimore parks (Baltimore, MD) • Public Space Planning Unit, City of Detroit - City of Detroit parks (Detroit, MI)

The Partnerships Lab leverages the resources and expertise of the Conservancy to help urban park organizations nationally and throughout New York City with building their own capacities to plan, develop, and maintain great public places. The Institute, founded in 2013, provides professional education, capacity building, peer-to-peer exchange, and thought leadership to park professionals so they have the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to create and support successful and sustainable parks.

NEW YORK CITY PROGRAM • Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park - Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens) • Gowanus Canal Conservancy - Gowanus Lowlands, a network of parks and public spaces centered on the Gowanus Canal (Brooklyn) • Van Cortlandt Park Alliance - Van Cortlandt Park (The Bronx)

Support for the Partnerships Lab at the national level is provided by The JPB Foundation. Support for the Institute for Urban Parks is provided by The JPB Foundation, The Jerome L. Greene Foundation, The Prospect Hill Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Charina Endowment Fund, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Sarah Peter, and Mr. & Mrs. Russell L. Carson.

Visit centralparknyc.org/institute to learn more about the Institute and the Partnerships Lab.



Rev. Michelle Thomas, chair of the Loudoun County Chapter of the NAACP, and Paul Gilbert, executive director for Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, at the interpretive sign that tells about the lynching of Orion Anderson, a 14-year-old African American boy, in 1889.

Interpretive Signs and Programs Telling all the stories of our nation’s past By Paul Gilbert


ith liberty and justice for all…. That is the aspiration of America, the lofty goal set out 243 years ago. It would be simple if we always lived up to that goal, but our history is more complicated than that.

Part of the role of parks is to tell the stories of the things that happened on the land. We call them interpretive signs and programs, but they are telling our history. Our choices of what we tell and how we tell it help to shape our regions

Part of the role of parks is to tell the stories of the things that happened on the land. We call them interpretive signs and programs, but they are telling our history. 46 Parks & Recreation

and inform our citizens about their community’s history. June 19 is a day of celebration and remembrance known as “Juneteenth.” On that day in 1865, the last of the enslaved African descendants were freed. On Juneteenth 2019, a group of nearly 200 marched through the streets of Leesburg, Virginia, from the site of the old jail to the site where a train station once stood. They were there to remember Orion Anderson, a 14-year-old African American boy, who was lynched at that site in 1889. Decades ago, the old rail-

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road was purchased and converted into one of the first rails-to-trails in the nation. Today, the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) Trail, owned by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NOVA Parks), is one of the most popular trails, attracting between 2 million and 3 million users a year.

Healing and Reconciliation NOVA Parks, working with the Loudoun County Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), created an interpretive sign that tells the story of Orion Anderson and his tragic death at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan more than 100 years ago. Pastor Michelle Thomas, the chair of

the Loudoun County Chapter of the NAACP, says, “NOVA Parks was great to work with. They understood the healing and reconciliation role that acknowledging a story like this can have in the community. They worked with us to get this story right.” When the marchers arrived at the trail where Orion was killed, they sang and prayed, and national, state and local elected officials gave remarks. Soil from the site of his death was placed in a container to be sent to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. Every city and county in America that had a lynching during the Jim Crow era, has an obelisk at this memorial in Alabama. Those who publicly recognize this history with a marker, can send soil from the site to the memorial and claim their obelisk. The marker for Orion Anderson is the first to mark one of what are several lynching sites in Northern Virginia. One month before the dedication, several park and recreation professionals from around Loudoun County visited the area, saw the site and read the sign that would soon be installed. One of those professionals was Malik Willoughby, recreation administration manager from Columbus, Ohio. Willoughby says, “Memorializing some of the worst crimes against humanity within our nation’s storyline, allows us all to address these deep, reverberating traumas and create more opportunities to invest in healing. This effort sets a bold standard by which other conscientious districts and agencies can follow where relevant.”

NOVA Parks was great to work with. They understood the healing and reconciliation role that acknowledging a story like this can have in the community.

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This effort to tell Anderson’s story was not universally popular. It is a painful story of one of the most unjust periods of our nation’s history, when terror was used to control and subjugate people.


An Ongoing Task

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice This memorial, located in Montgomery, Alabama, opened in April 2018 and “was conceived with the hope of creating a sober, meaningful site where people can gather and reflect on America’s history of racial inequality.” It is set on a 6-acre site that features sculptures, art and “a memorial square with 800 6-foot monuments to symbolize thousands of racial terror lynching victims in the United States and the counties and states where this terrorism took place.” Each of the columns is engraved with the names of lynching victims and, in a field surrounding the memorial, there are identical monuments waiting to be claimed by their respective counties where the lynchings occurred. Writings from Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Alexander, Martin Luther King Jr. and a reflection space dedicated to Ida B. Wells, a prominent journalist, activist and researcher, who documented hundreds of lynchings. “The memorial is an important space that honors the thousands of victims and helps bring a sense of validation and closure to the descendants. The bigotry and hatred that fueled these murders need to be faced and reconciled for our country to heal,” says Michelle Duster, an author, speaker and educator, who is the great-granddaughter of Ida B. Wells. Over time, the goal of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice is to “serve as a report on which parts of the country have confronted the truth of this terror and which have not.” The Equal Justice Initiative (https://eji.org) invites counties across the country, like the site in Loudoun County, Virginia, has done, to claim their monuments and install them in their permanent homes in the counties they represent.

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This effort to tell Anderson’s story was not universally popular. It is a painful story of one of the most unjust periods of our nation’s history, when terror was used to control and subjugate people. However, this history is every bit as real as any other story of America, and, to understand all our history, we must be willing to honestly deal with all the parts of our story, including the difficult ones. There is a movement in history to go beyond the mainline historical narrative and tell the less-reported events. Stories of Native Americans, African Americans, Civil Rights and voting rights are all essential histories to be understood, the aspirational goals of America, as well as the challenges we have overcome, and the ones we still struggle with. The vision was established in 1776, but the task of achieving that vision is ongoing. In the past few years, NOVA Parks has been working to tell a broader array of stories. A new exhibit educates about the native people who lived along the Potomac River when the first European

Marchers, gathered at the site where Orion Anderson was lynched, pray around the recently installed interpretive sign.

explorers arrived. A colonial mansion’s historic park is holding programs to help relatives of the slaves who worked there understand their family history. A Civil Rights park was established that tells the dramatic story that led to the first rural chapter of the NAACP in 1915. And, next year, a new memorial will be built to commemorate the women who were imprisoned for seeking the right to vote in the early 20th century. These newer exhibits, interpretive signs and monuments complement the existing parks and interpretation about the Colonial and Civil War periods. Michael Nardolilli, NOVA Parks chairman, says, “The properties of NOVA Parks tell the story of America.” As the stewards of im-

portant properties, park agencies have a vital role in helping to tell all the stories that inform us about the American experience, and our successes and failures in achieving

the aspirations of liberty and justice for all. Paul Gilbert is the Executive Director for Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (pgilbert@nvrpa.org).

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A Conversation with Baseball’s

Cal Ripken Jr. to kick off this year’s gathering of thousands of park and recreation professionals at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore. By Cort Jones


s a baseball player growing up, I always had those pregame butterflies before taking the field — but they always went away the moment I began running out to that sacred ground called shortstop, between second and third base. That’s where the action was. That’s where my favorite player stood. That’s where I could pretend I was Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball taught me a lot of things — both as a fan and former player. I learned patience waiting on a slow curveball. I learned the importance of teamwork when practicing how to turn a double play and how to be a team player when a teammate would take that dreaded walk back to the dugout with their head hung in disappointment after striking out. I learned how to win humbly, lose graciously and that until the final out is called and the lights have been shut off, there is always an opportunity to come out on top. Players like Cal Ripken Jr. taught me and other budding baseball players these things without ever being aware they were doing so. Ripken — also known as baseball’s “Iron Man” — is a Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Famer who played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles. Among his many professional achievements, he is most notable for breaking Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played on September 6, 1995. He retired in 2001 after 21 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, where he made an

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Cal Ripken Jr. addresses the crowd after breaking Lou Gehrig’s Iron Man Streak on September 6, 1995.

impact on fans, teammates, opponents and the game itself. Since retiring, Ripken continues to make a positive impact on people’s lives through the game he loves by hosting youth tourna-

The Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. 52 Parks & Recreation

ments, camps and clinics at The Ripken Experience in Aberdeen, Maryland, and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Ripken also works as the special advisor to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on finding ways to provide access to quality opportunities for children in underserved communities to play baseball and softball. Along with his brother, Billy, he formed the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in 2001, in honor of their father. The foundation provides opportunities for underserved kids to develop valuable life skills, build character and connect positively with law enforcement. In addition, the Ripken Foundation’s Youth Development Park Initiative creates clean, safe places for kids to play

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on multipurpose, synthetic surface fields that promote healthy living in an outdoor recreational facility. The Ripken Foundation has created 83 completed parks across the country in 22 states, 17 of which are Adaptive Fields for children with special needs. In 2018, the Ripken Foundation impacted more than 1.5 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park and mentoring programs. NRPA is thrilled that Cal Ripken Jr. will be sharing his story with thousands of park and recreation professionals this September at the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Parks & Recreation magazine recently caught up with him to talk about the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, why he believes

Cal Ripken Jr. was the last player to bat in Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium on Oct. 6, 1991.

it’s critical to provide opportunities and safe spaces for at-risk youth, the importance of letting kids be kids and why he’s excited about the NRPA Annual Conference. Parks & Recreation: Let’s talk first about your childhood. With your father being a professional baseball player, how was physical fitness and a healthy, active lifestyle viewed in your family? Cal Ripken Jr.: Being physical and outdoors a great deal was stressed by my mom and dad. We all played sports as kids, but we were never pushed into baseball as some might think. We just loved it. Once our parents saw that we loved it, they helped and encouraged us — but never drove us — and that helped us discover our love for the game that much more.

PARKS & RECREA Salsbury Indu

P&R: The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was founded to honor your father, and its mission is to prepare at-risk youth for life’s challenges by teaching them critical life skills, such as teamwork. Why do you believe there’s such a need to connect with these kids and provide opportunities for them? Ripken Jr.: When we started the foundation, we had no idea that it would grow to the size that it has and help so many kids across the country. When you travel around, you realize quickly that many kids don’t have the advantage of a solid family structure the way we did. Through programs like Badges for Baseball and others, we try to show kids that they do have support systems and there are organizations out there to help them. As we were conducting programs in cities across the country, we also noticed a lack of good places for kids to play and be kids — safe places. That’s when we started building Youth Development Parks, which are multipurpose turf fields that provide kids with safe places to play and learn and just be kids. We are now closing in on 100 of these parks, and they are really making an impact. P&R: With the foundation’s Youth Development Parks, you all are working with communities to build safe places, like sports fields, for at-risk youth. How important is it for at-risk youth to have a safe place to go? Ripken Jr.: It’s vitally important, and we didn’t fully understand that when we started the foundation. We

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Cal Ripken Jr. played in 2,632 consecutive games, a feat unlikely to ever be broken in today’s game.

not only in team sports, but also many of the other offerings? Ripken Jr.: What we try to do, and what we believe is important, is to make the parks and fields general in nature. Not just for baseball, soccer or football, but to allow the kids to do anything they want: encourage myriad activities and choices. In our technology-heavy world, we must work a bit harder to show kids how great it is to move and discover the outdoors. When I walk through a park, I am so encouraged by the number of kids and families enjoying it and taking advantage of it. In the end, it is all about exposing kids to new things.

In our technology-heavy world, we must work a bit harder to show kids how great it is to move and discover the outdoors. initially focused on programming, but it is hard for programs, no matter how good, to take root when you are playing on uncut grass and broken glass. We were lucky as kids to always have a nice park to play in, but so many kids across the country don’t have that. We are providing that space, and it is making an enormous difference to both the kids and the surrounding community. P&R: In your opinion, how can parks and recreation play a 54 Parks & Recreation

role in preparing today’s youth with the skills they need for the future? Ripken Jr.: Kids need to be kids. My brother, Bill, always says it this way: When a kid in a city is on the street, and he or she looks one way and there is a gang trying to lure him or her, and then they look the other way and there is a beautiful park with programs and people who care, they will choose [the latter] every time. We are seeing it have an effect, and parks and safe, open spaces are such an important part of our society. P&R: What kinds of things do you believe park and recreation departments can do to engage these youth and show the importance of getting involved

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P&R: What kinds of routines do you follow to stay active these days? I know there’s a lot of superstition and rituals when it comes to baseball. How has that translated into your life now that you’re retired? Ripken Jr.: I was never a superstitious player during my career, but so many guys were. Today, I enjoy bike riding and playing golf. The older you get, the more important it is to stay active. I love that more and more cities are incorporating bike trails into their plans. P&R: Now that we’re on the topic, what was one of the most outrageous superstitions you knew of when you were playing? Ripken Jr.: Do you remember Wade Boggs? Great third baseman for the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays, and a Hall of Famer. Wade had to eat chicken before every game. Every game! His nickname was the Chicken Man. I would get so sick of that, but it was his thing. I guess it worked.

P&R: We can’t have an interview with Cal Ripken Jr. without asking about September 6, 1995. Many fans might recall watching you wave your cap to the crowd at Camden Yards as you played your 2,131st consecutive game, breaking Lou Gehrig’s record. You went on to set that new record at 2,632 consecutive games played. What kept you going? Ripken Jr.: Can you believe next year will mark 25 years since the record was set? Time sure does fly. That was such a special night. What kept me going was a very simple and, I believe, honest approach. I was taught that as a ballplayer, it was my job to show up at the park each day ready to play. And, if the manager believed I was one of the nine guys who could help the team win that day, he knew he could count on me to be there. Over the years, there were a few critics calling me selfish for playing every day. I always found that curious. To me, I was just there for my team and facing the challenges of the day. If I was really selfish, I would skip days when guys, like Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez, were pitching and pad my stats a bit, but that was never my outlook and approach. I also had pretty good genes that kept me relatively healthy all those years. P&R: What are you most looking forward to about getting to speak to and meet thousands of park and recreation professionals in September? Ripken Jr.: I was lucky to have some unique experiences throughout my life, and I enjoy sharing those with other people. I also enjoy hearing

from those people and learning about what they do and their ideas for improvement. This particular group is of great interest to me, especially because of the work of our foundation and the world in which we all work.

To hear Ripken’s inspirational keynote, join us Tuesday, September 24, at 9 a.m. at the Opening General Session. To learn more, visit www.nrpa.org/conference. Cort Jones is NRPA’s Communications Manager (cjones@nrpa.org).

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Designing the


that Everyone Deserves Principles, examples and trends By Mike Abbaté, FASLA; Gina Ford, FASLA; and Joseph Webb, RLA



n November of 2017, NRPA announced a new tagline for the organization: “Because everyone deserves a great park.” The organization is aware that equal access to parks or natural areas is not a current reality. In fact, nearly 1 in 3 people do not have a park or natural area within 10 minutes of their home. NRPA wants to help communities fill the park gaps in their neighborhoods and to provide them with wonderful, beautiful and highly functioning parks and natural areas.

The Chicago Riverwalk demonstrates many dimensions of design excellence — connectivity, activation, ecological performance and economic sustainability.

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But what exactly is a “great park”? What makes one park great, another mediocre and another a failure? Does a park qualify by having a high-cost, fancy new play equipment, interactive fountain or bocce courts? What are the things that characterize great parks across North America and the world? How can you do an assessment of the parks in your own community? Three primary categories of information may help residents, elected officials, and park and recreation professionals assess the “greatness” of their parks: • Design Principles • Cultural Influences • Emerging Trends

Design Principles

Sustainable and Resilient Great parks embody environmentally responsible development strategies, which are a key part of a community’s public realm. They are not only great places for people, but also for migratory birds, insects, soil organisms and aquatic life. They are designed with ecological processes in mind and incorporate them beautifully. Stormwater treatment, native plants, pollinator gardens, highly efficient water and energy utilization, and organic main-


Great parks require great designs. They rarely, if ever, just “happen.” Nearly all communities have some assemblage of public spaces and features that evolved without any type of an overall plan organizing it. These places may be appreciated, but they certainly are not the places they could have been with the application of solid design principles. The following top seven design principles should be evident in every great park or natural area:

Inclusive and Welcoming Great parks make you feel good when you get there. They are open in their design and welcoming in their attitude. Regardless of your gender, age, cultural background or affinity group, you know you are in a public space that has been designed with you in mind, and you have little hesitation to enter and enjoy yourself. You enter knowing you are in a safe place, joining others who share your need to get away, relax, exercise, play with your kids or help your dog meet new friends. A great example of an inclusive, welcoming park is Trojan Park in St. Louis, Missouri, made possible by NRPA’s Parks Build Community initiative.

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tenance practices have both intrinsic and symbolic benefits for park patrons. A great example of this type of park is Tanner Springs Park, designed by GreenWorks and Atelier Dreiseitl, in Portland, Oregon. Beautiful Great parks must be filled with beautiful elements. Researchers tell us that beauty is not simply a subjective exercise with a wide divergence of opinions. Despite our cultural differences, there is broad consensus among humans about what is beautiful. The design elements that make something beautiful include line, color, texture and form organized in ways to create balance, unity, rhythm, proportion and emphasis. Sit on a beach watching the sunset, examine a flower’s intricate internal structure or take in the long view across a park’s pond toward the trees on the other side and you instantly recognize beauty, and it refreshes your soul. One of the most beautiful parks in the world is Hibiya Park in Tokyo, designed by Dr. Seiroku Honda. Even elements placed within landscapes should be beautiful and add to the user experience. For example, Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park Bridges, by Fieldwork Design & Architecture, which was recognized nationally by AIA in its 2019 Small Project Awards. Sensitive to Context Great parks do not ignore their physical or social context, but rather directly respond to it. A park adjacent to an elementary school must recognize the young

Resilient design strategies incorporated into Hunter’s Point South Park in Queens, New York, help capture and clean stormwater, buffer the impact of storm surges, and increase biodiversity and ecological function.

users next door and should be designed to maximize its playability by students. A design process for a new park set within a neighborhood of immigrants will work with these park users to understand their needs and desires. This may lead to clustered picnic tables for large groups, rather than individual, isolated tables. Some highdensity neighborhoods lack gardening space, so including community gardens responds to this need. An example of this contextual sensitivity is Cully Park in Portland, Maine, set within a diverse community of both Native Americans and recent immigrants. Its design includes an extensive Inter-Tribal Gathering Garden and key ceremonial spaces. Flexible to Evolve Over Time Great parks have longevity; yet, reflect how we prefer to recreate changes over time. Landmark parks, such as Central Park in New York City and Druid Hill Park in Baltimore, Maryland, have shown their adaptability over the decades. Originally designed as “Pleasure Grounds” for promenading, both parks later added active recreation facilities, such as sports fields, and Central Park converted the sheepfold into the Tavern on the Green restaurant, while Druid Hill Park added the H.P. Rawlings Conservatory. A great park can adapt and replace uses preferred in earlier generations with new activities. Timeless Great parks are also timeless in their design. This means that although they should reflect the era in which


Echo Park in Los Angeles, California, exemplifies a multiple-benefit infrastructure, with its beautiful, functional and sustainable design.

they were designed, they are not so gimmicky or trendy to be quickly outdated. Some of the most innovative park designs have changed the course of park design elsewhere. Two remarkable examples are Lawrence Halprin’s Ira Keller Fountain Park, which opened in Portland in 1970, and Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial dedicated by the National Park Service in 1982. Maintainable As park budgets continue to be in peril, the ongoing maintenance of parks has been increasingly scrutinized. This has led to two developments: first, designers are being asked to design parks with maintenance in mind. Great parks involve maintenance staff in the planning and design process for new parks to ensure efficient maintenance processes are integrated into the design. And second, new ways of accomplishing park maintenance are being considered by communities across the country through park conservancies and private-public partnerships. In Portland, a new approach, called the Ecologically Sustainable Landscapes Initiative, identifies maintenance-intensive portions of existing parks and converts them to native, low-maintenance “nature patches.”

Cultural Influences Great parks do not exist in isolation. When it comes to why certain parks become well-loved while others languish, context matters. The changing experience of parks is often related to broader cultural changes and phenomena. Parks have always been, and are increasingly becoming, places to register cultural change and preference. Evidence of a few of the more recent shifts are outlined below: Branding and Communications The internet has disrupted nearly every facet of U.S. life in ways impossible to imagine 10 years ago. Dating: meet Tinder. Shopping: meet Amazon. Friendship: meet Facebook. Driving: meet Uber. Great parks are equally tech-engaged and allow flexibility at entrances and along park edges, where cars once reigned, to accommodate ride shares, bicycle hubs and scooter rentals. Great parks are branded — and live in both the physical and digital worlds in the minds of consumers — with information about exploring park places and programs an increasingly simplified click away. And, as much as many may not want to admit, parks with “Instagrammable” moments see greater visitation and engagement. For example, Lawn on D in Boston,

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Massachusetts, dubbed the “selfie” capital of Boston, attributes much of its success to its light-up swing installation, called Swing-Time, designed by Howeler and Yoon Architects. Health and Wellness It’s estimated that 34 percent of adults and 15–20 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are obese. Chronic illness is on the rise worldwide and is the leading cause of death in the United States. We also now know that parks provide immense health and wellness benefits — everything from stress reduction and improved mental health, to less exposure to air and noise pollution. Great parks offer what we might consider as traditional wellness amenities (recreational trails, fitness stations and the like) but also use care to integrate the healing power of natural systems. Denver’s recently completed park system plan, for example, is called “A Gameplan for a Healthy City,” and its strategies link to the many ways park design can promote healthier lifestyles and urban wellness. Resiliency and Climate Change Across the nation, climate-related

disasters — floods, droughts, tornadoes, earthquakes — are hitting communities with ferocity. Great parks can create more climate resilience by integrating green infrastructure, providing places for community gathering (in both normal and emergency situations) and preventing future carbon-related impacts through tree planting and reduced heat-island effect. The recently completed sections of the Brooklyn Waterfront, called Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hunters Point South, provide great examples of resilient design that simultaneously provides human delight and ecologically rich spaces that capture water. Equity and Inclusion Changing demographics and broader economic trends have resulted in increasing concern for greater equity and inclusion, particularly as, in recent years, all racial and ethnic minorities are growing more rapidly than white populations. Economic change and job loss have resulted in higher-than-ever numbers of people experiencing homelessness. Great parks are designed to be inclusive to all. Designers

across the country are testing what this means — from compassionate park design that promotes social cohesion, to programming that celebrates diverse ethnic and cultural expression. Washington Square in Cincinnati, Ohio, is managed by the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and is a fabulous example of a place where the music, food and programmed experiences speak to the city’s ethnic, socioeconomic and multigenerational diversity. Multigenerational Experience Baby boomers and millennials are nipping at each other’s heels for the “largest generation” moniker — both in terms of size and profile. These generations have distinct differences in ideology, but they come together, most certainly, in parks. How else can we explain the massive pickleball craze that is sweeping the nation? Multigenerational experience is a common goal of park design projects. More and more designers are looking to create unique, hybrid programs that can relate to the uber-engaged “Silver Tsunami” folks, as much as to their millennial and Generation Z grandchildren.


Democracy The early years of the 21st century have seen an incredible resurgence in civic action and political protest. Movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter — just two of many — found a home in the plazas, public parks and streets of our communities. The Women’s March

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of 2017 was one of the single-greatest gatherings in human history — and those millions of feet marched largely across public parks and places. Great spaces for civic gathering and protest speak to both our democratic ideals and our sense of pride of place. The National Mall is our most widely known American democratic space, but smaller spaces in cities and communities of all sizes are seeing more political action.

Emerging Trends We have entered a new era of innovation for park and recreation facility design. Driven by social, economic and environmental changes, local governments are challenged to provide an increasingly diverse breadth of recreation and social services, while competing for limited available funding. With these new challenges come not only new opportunities, but also new collaborations with a wide range of new technologies that are providing park and recreation design professionals with myriad opportunities for creative design. Creative partnerships, multiple-benefit infrastructure, innovative technology and pop-up parks allow new ways to provide the great parks everyone deserves. Partnerships Increasingly, park and recreation agencies are realizing the benefits of collaborating with other entities. Working with private development in public-private partnerships (P3) brings the value of entrepreneurial prowess and the financial means of private-sector money together with the public-benefit focus and long-term, stewardship of public parks, to the benefit of both. True partnerships with other public


Even elements placed within landscapes, like Portland, Oregon’s Forest Park Bridges — recognized nationally by AIA in its 2019 Small Project Awards — should be beautiful and add to the user experience.

sector agencies take better advantage of scarce public resources while realizing multiple-benefit opportunities. Collaborations with private, not-for-profit entities stretch resources and allow for creativity and philanthropy. Multiple-Benefit Infrastructure Creative communities across the United States are increasingly focusing an integrated design solution on infrastructure projects. Teams of professionals are being integrated early into the design process to incorporate recreational, educational and leisure opportunities into the final design of large infrastructure projects. The architects of major transportation, water and stormwater management plans are being asked to consider livability and sustainability objectives in their projects. This integrated approach not only provides critical funding for recreational amenities, but also enriches the environment, provides educational opportunities and builds more livable communities. Technology Our world today is connected. We often take for granted the ease with which we can immediately communicate with anyone or search for information on any subject. This new ability can provide rich meaning to park experiences and a deeper understanding of our environments.

We can now share our experiences with loved ones and learn about places and events at the touch of a finger. We also can experience our parks in new and creative ways. Lighting can add drama and excitement to a space, beyond simply providing security. Music and dance can be integrated into the landscape. The options are limitless. Pop-Up Parks Design professionals can now provide recreational opportunities in nontraditional locations. Mobile amenities and serendipitous programming allow us to create “pop-up parks” where needed in unique locations and underserved areas. These offerings can range from a small social space, temporarily created in a single parking space, to a major fitness festival in an office plaza. Strategic interventions are now mobile and can serve everyone. The fun can happen anywhere. Adhering to timeless design principles, being sensitive to cultural influences and aware of emerging trends allow park professionals to create great parks that are beloved, beautiful and highly functional. The only limiting factor is our ability to think holistically and creatively. Mike Abbaté, FASLA, is a Landscape Architect with Abbaté Designs LLC (mike@abbatedesigns.com). Gina Ford, FASLA, is a Landscape Architect, Co-Founder and Principal of Agency Landscape + Planning (gina@agencylp.com). Joseph Webb, RLA, APA, NRPA, is the Director of Park Planning at AECOM (joseph.webb@aecom.com).

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The Next Big Thing for Parks and Rec By Neelay Bhatt


n my work consulting with park and recreation agencies nationwide, I am constantly asked about trends and what’s the next big sport/offering that agencies should provide in their communities. In years past, it used to be lacrosse while, recently, we hear a lot about rugby and pickleball. “What’s pickleball?” — you ask. Well, that’s a conversation for another day and another article, but suffice to say, it is a fast-growing sport nationally.

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The one sport that I have scarcely heard anyone cite is esports (electronic sports), which, incidentally, is the fastest-growing sport genre nationally and globally. eGaming is a generic term to describe amusement or recreation using a standalone video game, desktop computer or the internet with one or more players, while esports comprises organized, multiplayer gaming events played in a competitive environment, often by professional gamers. What’s more, spectators watch esports in person or via online channels, such as YouTube and Twitch.

Esports by the Numbers In 2019, global annual esports revenues crossed $1 billion — a steep 64 Parks & Recreation

rise from $130 million just seven years ago, according to Newzoo: Esports Insider. A report from Goldman Sachs, titled “Esports: From Wild West to Mainstream,” projects total esports monetization will reach $3 billion by 2022. To put that in perspective, the NBA’s 30 teams combined generated $7.4 billion in 2017. Recognizing the potential of this genre, that same year, the NBA, in a joint venture with Take-Two Interactive, introduced its own esports league, titled NBA 2K League, and the Wall Street Journal estimates this sponsorship to be valued at $1.1 billion over seven years. Along with that, Newzoo’s 2018 Global ESports Market Report proj-

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ects an estimated audience of more than 550 million viewers by 2021, which translates into a 200 percent growth in viewership in merely five years since 2016. This is a vast market with different genres, including, but not limited to: • Fighting games (e.g., Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, etc.) • First-person shooter (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive; HALO; Call of Duty) • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) (e.g., League of Legends, Defense of the Ancients 2 – DOTA) • Racing (e.g., Kart Racing Games, such as Mario Cart, Need for Speed Series) • Real-time strategy (e.g., StarCraft II) • Sport games (EA Sports FIFA; Madden) The MOBA format is among the most popular since it allows for a high number of participants and viewers alike. Overall, some of the most popular games include League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, Defense of the Ancient (DOTA) 2, Starcraft2, NBA 2K, Madden, etc. At the collegiate level, in 2018, more than 300 varsity programs and college clubs competed in the League of Legends collegiate division. More than 30 colleges and universities offer substantial scholarships for their varsity athletes. These colleges range from Boise State, Idaho, to the University of Akron, Ohio, and from the University of California, Berkeley, to Hawaii Pacific University. The Peach Belt Conference became the first NCAA conference to sponsor esports tournaments and other conferences, including the Horizon League, have already followed suit. The NCAA Board of Governors is also looking into this, as is the International Olympic Committee, which is weighing the potential of esports as an Olympic Sport.

The Moment of Zen: When a 16-year-old from Pennsylvania, who goes by “Bugha,” wins more money at an esports tournament (Fortnite) than Tiger Woods does winning The Masters or Novak Djokovic does winning Wimbledon, you know that esports is the future.

Why Should Park and Recreation Agencies Get into Esports?

Connect with hard-to-reach audiences. Besides being the fastest-growing genre, esports has a primary target audience that is critical to park and recreation agencies: teens and young adults. Virtually every agency struggles with programming for teens, who are notoriously hard to attract for structured programming or offerings besides traditional sports. In addition, per the National Alliance for Youth Sports Poll, 70 percent of kids stop playing sports by the age of 13, while, in contrast, 90 percent of kids ages 12–17 play video games. This is where offering esports and eGaming can help agencies attract an audience that may not otherwise show up at their recreation centers. The evolution of esports and eGaming from a single-player, solitary activity to a multiplayer, immersive social experience can be helpful in allowing these audiences to create their own place to hang out or socialize in a safe, structured environment…at your recreation center. Provide physical activity and (multigenerational) socialization benefits. As a father of two kids, a 6-yearold and (almost) 2-year-old, I, too, am concerned about the lack of physical activity the current generation gets daily. With an increase in childhood obesity and nature deficit disorder, I am hesitant to recommend anything that may simply create an increasingly sedentary environment simply in another location. However, there are companies, such as MassVR (based in Chicago), that provide a team-based, virtual-reality experience where participants are physically active and run, jump and move, while being engaged in a multiplayer game. Chris Lai, founder of Mass VR, shares insights in his TEDx talk (https://tinyurl.com/ y3qy7l7o) about this immersive gameplay format that not only promotes physical activity, but also increases opportunities to socialize in, what he calls, a “Mom-approved” environment. These benefits are not reserved simply for teens or youth, but also extend to a varied and multigenerational audience. An October 2018 study by CommonSense.org reveals that 31 percent of Fortnite-playing dads and 17 percent of Fornite-playing moms play, at least occasionally, with their child, and 39 percent of teens reveal that

playing Fortnite helps them bond with a sibling. Brodie Sutton, a 34-year-old engineer in the semiconductor industry in Virginia, has been an avid gamer for more than 25 years. Along with following gaming influencers on YouTube or Twitch, he also plays Massively Multi-Player Online (MMO) games, such as War Thunder with friends across the country. Sutton says, “It is incredible to see how increasingly immersive and interactive these gaming opportunities have become. They have not only helped build new friendships across geographies, but have also provided learning opportunities in several areas, including math, reading, strategy and critical thinking.” Maximize facility utilization and revenue generation. Another challenge many park and recreation agencies deal with is having unused or under-used facility spaces, especially at non-prime times. Offering eGaming nights or esports tournaments could be another way to use existing capacity, bring in a new audience and cross-promote existing offerings that they may not be aware of. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has a local Esports Club that offers a STEAM (Fortnite)



Choose your device and your seat. Easy. DAKTRONICS.COM/DAKSCORE

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Summer Camp, which combines gaming with cognitive health and physical wellness activities. These activities can all drive incremental revenues, ranging from facility rentals, to participant fees for camps or tournaments, facility membership or sponsorships. The Moment of Zen: The average age of a League of Legends player is 21.2 years compared to 29.2 for a Major League Baseball player. If you are looking for a way to connect with teens and youth while generating incremental revenue over time, esports may be just be that solution.

What Can Park and Recreation Agencies Do?


Focus on esports in your program offering or future strategic direction. An initial start for agencies would be to create a program area focused on esports that’s like other traditional sports offerings or camps. Excelsior Springs, Missouri, for example, has an esports and gaming

program, offered as a part of its Youth Enrichment program area, with a recreation coordinator (who is herself a gamer) to run those programs. The Boca Raton Recreation Services Department in Florida, recently created a core program area focused on esports, while Durango Parks and Recreation Department in Colorado, and Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department in Virginia, include exploring opportunities to offer esports as a part of the future direction in their master plan and strategic plan, respectively. Identify an existing facility space. Fort Lauderdale, Florida, plans to open its first electronic video gaming center this year. This center is an existing 2,137-square-foot building that will be rented for three years and operated by the park and recreation department. The video games offered by the city will be “age-appropriate” city officials say, and will incorporate “STEAM” activities (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), as well as homework assistance and promotion of healthy lifestyles.

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Build dedicated esports spaces in future facilities. Esports Stadium in Arlington, Texas, at 100,000 square feet is the largest dedicated esports facility in North America. While that may not be realistic for park and recreation agencies, one could emulate the example of Westerville, Ohio, a National Gold Medal agency that is designing an esports room in its renovated community center. This would help the agency stay on top of future trends and potentially help drive incremental revenue through a combination of memberships, league play, camps, tournaments, special events, etc. The Moment of Zen: For park and recreation agencies looking to enter this vast and seemingly unknown world of esports, the best thing you can do is treat this as just another program area and take the first step.

What Does the Future Hold? As I see it, esports will be one of the biggest growth stories of the

Thousands of esports fans cheer on their favorite player or team at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

coming decade. The previously referenced Goldman Sachs report reveals that the total online population globally in 2018 was 3.65 billion, of which only 5 percent were esports viewers. This is a huge untapped market that is anticipated to generate increasing revenues in the future, particularly from media rights and sponsorships. As viewership grows, so will the focus on esports athletes and high performance to ensure sustained success. Taylor Johnson is the chief performance engineer for Statespace, a New York-based neuroscience and artificial intelligence gaming company and a sports-performance expert in the NFL and the esports world. Johnson says, “I see the overall landscape evolving to provide a greater balance between gaming and being active, with people being more creative about blending gaming camps and sports camps.” His company also is expanding into digital therapeutics to help gamify rehabilitation for patients, and he sees that work complementing the health and wellness benefits that park and recreation agencies provide their communities. Globally, the fast food chain Fairwood has opened Fairwood Esports, which is Hong Kong’s first restaurant and entertainment concept, where patrons can dine and game at the same time. Locally, Esports Arenas, North America’s first dedicated esports facility, opened Esports Arenas within Walmart facilities, including in Roseville, California, and Spokane Valley, Washington. With incremental growth leading to more than 500 million viewers and $3 billion in revenues globally in the next few years alone, it is only a matter of time before esports will be on par with traditional sports in participation and viewership.


Esports provide an opportunity for true inclusion through participation in recreational team-based activities.

The Moment of Zen: Esports will be a disruptor to the traditional model of park and recreation offerings and agencies will have two choices: You can either be the force for change or you will be forced to change.

Conclusion While all these statistics and trends tell an important tale, the story that most resonated with me was one I heard from Nate Williams, director of Excelsior Springs (Missouri) Parks and Recreation. On March 9, 2019, the park agency hosted an esports tournament to play Smash Bros on the Nintendo Switch. One of its participants was a child with special needs. When the tournament concluded, the participant’s mother approached the staff and told them how she could never cheer on her son since he didn’t play any of the traditional sports.

However — thanks to the agency’s esports offerings — for the first time that day, she got to see her son play and cheer him on like all the other moms do. With this single act that offered a child a chance to compete, if not on the traditional field of play but a virtual one, esports just helped make a case for true inclusion and how it positively impacted that child (and his family’s life). At the end of the day, isn’t that what parks and recreation is all about? Join Neelay Bhatt, vice president of PROS Consulting Inc., for his presentation on “Esports 101: Just What the Heck Is Esports and Why/How Should My Agency Participate in It?” Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 10:10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. at the Baltimore Convention Center or listen to the podcast “eSports at the Rec Center?” at https://tinyurl.com.y3o8fkmt.

Neelay Bhatt is Vice President at PROS Consulting Inc. (neelay.bhatt@prosconsulting.com).

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TENNIS: A Game Changer in Park Revitalization

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How growing the sport can mean new business — and a whole new outlook By Mary Helen Sprecher


sst! Hey, park and recreation directors. Remember us? We’re your tennis courts. Oh, sure, you may have forgotten all about us (and, sometimes, it shows), but we have a message for you: We’re still here. People still love us. And we have potential you aren’t even aware of. In fact, we might even be the answer you’ve been looking for to help make your park busier and more vibrant — and to raise its public profile. Oh, and did we mention we could even give you a new revenue stream? You see, parks have traditionally been the epicenter of tennis in the United States. In fact, 70 percent of all tennis is played at public facilities, either free or for very little cost. And, the appeal of tennis goes across all demographic and socioeconomic groups. It is, after all, the sport for a lifetime. It can be learned in childhood — or adulthood, for that matter. It can be played by three generations (and, sometimes, even more). Because of this, and because of

Artist’s renderings of the new Golden Gate Park Tennis Complex in San Francisco. Once completed, it will have 17 new courts, including a stadium court with built-in seating for 200, a pickleball court and a new 7,800-square-foot clubhouse.

its wide appeal, the sport aligns with NRPA’s Health and Wellness and Social Equity Pillars. And, all it takes is a committed effort to get things moving — as a few groups have discovered. You may even find yourself inspired to shake the dust off your racquet and make tracks to your courts — just to see what both you and those courts can do.

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Drawn in 1892, this map of Golden Gate Park provides a view of the wide range of facilities available to visitors.


Building from the Ground Up

A Historic Venue Gets New Life In San Francisco, construction of the Golden Gate Park Tennis Complex is underway. When completed in 2020, the facility will feature 17 new courts, including a stadium court with built-in seating for 200, a pickleball court, a new 7,800-square-foot clubhouse with a players’ lounge, recreation room, locker rooms, kitchen and dedicated space for a tennis and learning center and other amenities. The installation of new lighting on all courts will bring the potential for up to 30,000 hours of additional playtime each year. That’s impressive, but what’s even more impressive is the storied history of the facility. “The tennis center will celebrate its 150th anniversary next summer,” says Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the San Francisco Parks & Recreation Department. “It dates all the way back to the 1880s, although the current center has remained more or less the same since the 1950s.” Over the years, the park’s courts 70

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have become known as the Cradle of Champions. Billie Jean King, Alice Marble and Rosie Casals have all played here, and countless children have hit their first serves on these courts. The facility has been a hub for underserved youth, who not only received tennis lessons but academic coaching here, as well. An urban tennis center, Golden Gate Park serves what Ginsburg calls “a beautiful eclectic mix of senior, youth, competitive, LGBTQ and schoolchildren,” and has done so for decades. But, says Ginsburg, the tennis facility was showing its age. “Oh, it had been loved to death. It had outlived its time.” Bringing the center forward nearly 75 years was no easy task, and it took a public-private partnership to make it happen. Most of the funding for the project — $26 million of a total of $30 million — was raised through public donations. “We had some very generous gifts,” adds Ginsburg. “The project has a lot of support, both from the community and a lot of political support, as well.”

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Renovating an existing facility, says Ginsburg, required the Tennis Coalition of San Francisco — as the promotional organization became known — to “inspire donor confidence” that it would really happen. But a different challenge faced the partners who worked to make the Bay Community Tennis Center a reality. Bay City, Michigan, says Joe Ricard, president of the Bay Community Tennis Association, was an area that needed some recreational opportunities. Ricard, the coach of a high school team that lacked its own courts, was constantly seeking out facilities for practices and matches. Nearly a decade ago, came the aha moment. “The mom of one of my former players and I would go to other schools when we wanted to play,” Ricard explains. “One day, we looked at each other and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had our own courts?’ Well, one thing led to another and suddenly, the fingers just pointed to me, and I accepted. I was the logical person to take it on, I guess,” he laughs. “That was eight years ago.” Fast-forward to early this past summer, with the grand opening of the eight-court Janet H. Jopke Bay Community Tennis Facility — and the home courts of Bay City Central High School’s team. But, between the aha moment and the ceremonial first serve was plenty of work. The city donated land that was laying fallow, occupied by a vacant school. The Bay Community Tennis Association, comprised of staunch supporters of the courts, went to work raising funds for the old building to

be leveled and the tennis center constructed. And now, says Beth Trahan, recreation coordinator for Bay County and Bay Community Tennis Committee member, “the courts are showcase beautiful. It’s hard not to ask yourself, ‘Why wasn’t this done before?’” The courts cost slightly more than $500,000, with additional money set aside in an endowment fund for maintenance and upkeep. And, just as with the Golden Gate Park project, the majority came from donations. “We put together over $450,000 by fundraising,” notes Jerry Schloff, one of the project’s most ardent supporters. “We had donations that went from $45 to $100,000.” And oddly, it all started with a carwash held by a former player — the one whose mother Joe Ricard was playing with when the whole idea came about. “We had no idea how much it would all cost,” admits Ricard. “We really didn’t.” Part of what made the project affordable was the donation of approximately $100,000 in labor and equipment from Shaw Contracting Co., whose principal, Brad Shaw, lives only a few miles from the court. And, Shaw notes, he’s already seeing a return on his investment. “Our kids already benefited from it — our three little boys were going to a tennis camp there right after it opened. They had a great time.”

Bay City has developed a partnership with the local YMCA and YWCA to help get the word out and so far, it is helping to create awareness and bring in players. One formidable obstacle is the perception of public tennis courts as bare-bones structures with sagging nets and cracked surfaces, which players avoid. And, unfortunately, if nothing is done to provide maintenance and create programming, that perception can become reality. “We do see tennis courts that are allowed to fade out over time,” says Steve Bigelow of Bay City Public Schools. “Unfortunately, you’ll hear people say, ‘Let’s take the court out and put something else in,’” adds Alison Vidal, manager of community, development and partnerships with USTA Northern California. “That’s why our sport declines. But tennis in the parks was such a big thing when I was growing up. We need to get back to that.” Building in a maintenance budget — something both Golden Gate and Bay City have done — is also crucial to success. And, while hard courts require far less upkeep than their clay counterparts, they still need care if they are to be kept in the best possible playing shape. “Obviously, we want to grow the game — we want everyone possible to be holding a racquet,” says Steve Leube,

Making It Work: Resources and Programming Public-private partnerships work, say those in both Bay City and in San Francisco, because someone wants them to work and is willing to put the effort into them. In addition to having strong fundraising campaigns, volunteers were able to leverage professional assistance from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to help move their projects along. Both areas were also the recipients of grants from the USTA’s Facility Assistance Program, which readily supports community projects with technical, financial and business development resources. (For information about this program, see sidebar on p. 72.) Although fundraising gets a facility built, having a viable programming schedule makes it succeed. According to Beth Trahan, simply having the courts open in Bay City isn’t going to be enough. “We need to get tennis back on track,” she says, the determination evident in her voice. “We need to get some programming to bring the people in.” “That’s true,” Joe Ricard agrees. “It has been difficult to get the word out. A few people signed up for leagues, but we’re planning to offer them again next year, along with cardio tennis, adult programs and lessons. I want those courts full.”


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The showcase-beautiful, eight-court Janet H. Jopke Bay Community Tennis Facility in Bay City, Michigan.

executive director of USTA Northern California. “But, there’s not a park and rec place worth a dime that you don’t pay minimal court fees that go toward maintenance.”

Creating a Destination Well-built, regularly maintained courts with high-quality amenities create additional revenue opportunities for the cities that host them. In addition to lessons, leagues and other local play, tennis facilities, when properly marketed, can host outside events, including tournaments on a local, regional and national level.

Resources Available The USTA Facility Assistance program offers communities and volunteers assistance with technical, financial and business development resources. In addition, communities are appointed project consultants from the USTA National staff, who work with interested groups to help move projects from the drawing board to reality. Information is available at the USTA’s website, www.usta.com/facilities. Park and recreation-specific resources help municipalities develop and improve their courts, and also can be found at www.usta.com/parksandrecreation. Another invaluable tool is the USTA Community Advocacy Handbook, available online free of charge. Use the search term, USTA Community Advocacy Handbook, to access a downloadable copy.


Parks & Recreation

Such competitions bring in economic impact stemming from hotel rooms, restaurant use and shopping in local businesses. They also attract further donations. Julie Exley, executive director of the San Francisco Tennis Coalition, says Golden Gate Park needs to get back to that. “The San Francisco Open has been running consecutively at this site for 115 years, which is pretty amazing,” she notes. “We share a vision with one of our major donors, Tad Taube, to reinvigorate this historic community event. In addition, it would be wonderful to see some USTA playoffs right here in our backyard.” By starting small, such as hosting high school matches and tournaments, parks can build up their résumé. Making outreach to the local convention and visitors bureau or sports commissions and creating a portfolio for the facility — describing how many courts are available, whether or not they are lighted, the adjacency of facilities, such as rest rooms and bleachers, the availability of parking and other amenities — can raise awareness as well. Convention and visitors bureaus create an inventory of sports facilities available. Often, large tournaments

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will use courts at a variety of sites, so getting on the radar prior to the playing season is critical to success. “My high school championships were always held in Golden Gate Park,” says Alison Vidal. “One year, Rosie Casals gave out the trophies.” Community member Beth Trahan says Bay City is already leveraging a range of assets to attract tourism. “We have a river that runs through town and someone has opened a kayak and boat rental business. We also have a rail trail on the riverfront that extends to our state park, and in the future, it’ll run all the way to Saginaw,” she says. “I think all that, plus the courts, will help people reacquaint themselves with the outdoors.” Those interested in improving tennis facilities, says Virgil Christian, USTA’s senior director of section & strategic infrastructure, will find that although it’s a formidable task, it’s not one that needs to be undertaken alone. He adds: “Improving, rebuilding (or even building) public tennis courts and making them into welcoming, active community engagement centers is a process, rather than an event. It takes determination and dedication to do it successfully. The good news, when it comes to community advocacy, is that tennis players are across-theboard passionate about their sport. What we’ve seen is that with a committed group of volunteers working together with a city, and with a strong public-private partnership, there really isn’t any limit on what can be accomplished.” Mary Helen Sprecher is the Managing Editor of Sports Destination Management (mhsprecher@gmail.com).

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Bring on the Charm! By Paula Jacoby-Garrett


altimore has more history and unspoiled charm tucked away in quiet corners than most American cities,” says William G. “Bill” Evans, the advertising exec who coined Baltimore’s “Charm City” nickname.

This year, the NRPA Annual Conference will take place September 24–26, 2019, in “Charm City” — Baltimore, Maryland. This waterfront community is known for its walkable, vibrant downtown community with unique attractions, vast history and a wide variety of delectable choices. Baltimore’s rich history began in the early 17th century. The harbor was a trade route with England for tobacco

and later for sugar from the Caribbean. At one point, Baltimore was one of the nation’s leading ports of entry for European immigrants. It played a crucial role in the American Revolution and was attacked by the British in 1814. Francis Scott Key was present during this conflict and, later wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” about watching our nation’s flag flying through the heat of the battle.

Baltimore Inner Harbor


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After the revolution, Baltimore continued to be an active trading port and became a vibrant manufacturing center. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that its economy diminished, and a widespread fire in 1904 further decimated the city. Baltimore served as an essential supply and shipbuilding center during WWI and WWII, but later, in the 1960s and 1970s, the city declined until urban renewal efforts, beginning in the 1980s, helped spur its growth. Today, Baltimore is a vibrant community with a population of more than 600,000. It is divided

into distinct and unique neighborhoods, each with their own personality and character. Famous residents of Baltimore include author Edgar Allan Poe, musician James Hubert “Eubie” Blake, singer Billie Holiday and, this year’s keynote speaker, Cal Ripken Jr. So, join us in the “Charm City” for our annual conference, a taste of our nation’s history and all that this delightful city has to offer.

Fun Things to Do Baltimore Ghost Tours Looking for something a bit out of the ordinary? The Baltimore Ghost Tours have been sharing Maryland’s haunted history since 2001. Check online for a list of specific tours offered. Address: 731 South Broadway (on the sidewalk outside Max’s Sidebar), Baltimore, MD 21231 Hours: Tours begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday; on Friday, tours run at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.; on Saturday, tours run at 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Website: baltimoreghosttours.com Admission: Tickets range from $16 and up. Pub walks are for those over 21 only.

Baltimore Water Taxi What a fantastic way to see Baltimore — from the water! The Baltimore taxi has a variety of routes along the harbor to take you to a specific destination or for a tour of the harbor. Address: Docks from several locations. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website: https://baltimorewatertaxi.com Admission: Vary by length and trip type; see website for more information.

Historic Ships in Baltimore Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these four ships offer a unique snapshot of our nation’s history. They include the USS Constellation (the Navy’s last all-sail warship), the USS Torsk (WWII submarine), Taney (USGC Cutter and last vessel to witness the attack on Pearl Harbor) and the Lightship 116 Chesapeake. Address: 301 East Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: See website for current hours. Website: https://baltimore.org/listings/ historic-sites/historic-ships-baltimore Admission: Adults $15, children $7, seniors $13

Maryland Zoo This zoo was created in 1876 and is the third oldest zoo in the United States. While the zoo offers a wide variety of animals to see, it is best known for its award-winning penguin exhibit and has the largest African penguin-breeding colony in North America. Address: 1 Safari Pl., Baltimore, MD 21217 Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: www.marylandzoo.org Admission: Adults $21.99, children $17.99, seniors $18.99

Maryland Science Center From the tiniest of cells to the vast realm of outer space — the Maryland Science Center has interactive exhibits that engage visitors of every age. Address: 601 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230 Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: www.mdsci.org

Bookmark these maps to help guide you during your visit to Baltimore General city map https://baltimore.org/baltimore-map Convention center map, including floor plans https:// baltimore.org/sites/default/files/bcc/html5/bcc2014.html Baltimore park locations http://bcrp.baltimorecity.gov/ sites/default/files/Parks%20map.pdf

Admission: Adults $25.95, children $19.95, seniors $24.95

National Aquarium For those interested in life beneath our ocean’s surface, the National Aquarium has exhibits, ranging from the interactive living seashore and dolphin discovery to shark alley and Australia’s Wild Extremes. Address: 501 East Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Saturday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Website: www.aqua.org Admission: Adults $39.95, children $29.95, seniors $34.95

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! From the unusual to the odd, to the downright weird — Ripley’s Believe It or Not! never ceases to amaze visitors. Address: 301 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Website: www.ripleys.com/baltimore Admission: Main attraction: adults $17.99, children $11.99

Top of the World Observation Level For an amazing view overlooking the city, check out the Top of the

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clock tower. Today, the building serves as a piece of history and houses resident artists. Address: 21 Eutaw St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: Tours of the tower on Saturdays only at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Website: www.bromoseltzertower.com Admission: $8

World Observation Level located on the world’s tallest pentagonal building. Address: World Trade Center, 401 East Pratt St., 27th floor, Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Wednesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website: viewbaltimore.org Admission: Adults $6, children $4, seniors or military $5

Urban Pirates Looking for an adventure that you can’t get in most cities? How about a ride on a pirate ship? You will not only get to set sail out on an ocean adventure, but you will learn how to talk and dance like a pirate. Address: 911 South Ann St., Baltimore, MD 21231 Hours: See website for cruise options and schedules. Website: www.urbanpirates.com Admission: For the Family Adventure: adults and children $22, under 2 years old $12. Other cruises are available, see website for more information.

Revisit History Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower Constructed in 1911, the Bromo Seltzer Tower is a 15-story landmark, complete with a functional 76

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Civil War Museum at President Street Station The President Street Station has a rich history and has the distinction of being the oldest-surviving railroad station in an urban setting. This museum tells the tale of early railroad travel, including the Underground Railroad. Address: 601 South President St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Friday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: http://baltimorecivilwar museum.com Admission: Adults $3, students $2, children free

Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park This living classroom looks not only at the lives of Frederick Douglass and Isaac Myers, but also at the overall contribution of African Americans in the maritime industry of Baltimore. Address: 1417 Thames St., Baltimore, MD 21231 Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Website: https://livingclassrooms.org/ programs/frederick-douglass-isaacmyers-maritime-park Admission: Adults $5, children $2, seniors $4

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Fort McHenry National Monument Fort McHenry was the site of the British attack on Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. This site is where Francis Scott Key became inspired during the battle to write the Star-Spangled Banner. The fort was built in 1798 and designated a national park in 1925. Later, in 1939, it was redesignated as a national monument. Address: 2400 East Fort Ave., Baltimore, MD 21230 Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: www.nps.gov/fomc/index.htm Admission: Adults $15, children 15 and under are free; NPS passes are accepted.

Maryland Historical Society Home to the most significant collection of Maryland artifacts, this museum houses Native American artifacts, items from the Revolutionary War, paintings, furniture and other historical items. Address: 201 West Monument St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Website: https://mdhs.org Admission: Adults $9, children $6, seniors $7

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House Once Mary Pickersgill’s home and flag-making business, this building was where the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem was created. Address: 844 East Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: www.flaghouse.org Admission: Adults $9, students $7, children (6 and under) free, seniors/ military $8


Washington Monument The first monument to George Washington, this historic structure was refurbished in 2010 and, in 2015, reopened after an extensive renovation. Address: 699 Washington Pl., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: http://mvpconservancy.org/ the-monument Admission: Adults $6, children $4

Westminster Hall and Burying Ground This historic church, complete with an 1882 pipe organ, is the final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe. The

site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Address: 519 West Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: During daylight hours. Website: www.law.umaryland.edu/ westminster Admission: Outside grounds are free of charge; public guided tours are offered for a fee: adults $5, children and seniors $3

Visit a Museum Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum If you are a baseball fan, this museum is for you. It highlights the life and achievements of sports legend Babe Ruth. Address: 216 Emory St., Baltimore, MD 21230

Hours: Monday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: https://baberuthmuseum.org Admission: Adults $10, children $5, seniors/military $8

Baltimore Museum of Industry The Baltimore Museum of Industry focuses on Maryland’s contribution and legacy in the industrial revolution. Address: 1415 Key Hwy., Baltimore, MD 21230 Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: www.thebmi.org Admission: Adults $12, children $7 (6 and under free), seniors $9

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B & O Railroad Museum The museum opened in 1953 and has the most significant railroad collection in the United States. Address: 901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223 Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Website: www.borail.org Admission: Adults $20, children $12, seniors $17

Port Discovery Children’s Museum This museum is a family favorite, with hands-on, interactive and exploratory activities for children of all ages. Visitors can climb high in the sky climber, visit a port, create art and music and, best of all — play. Address: 35 Market Pl., Baltimore, MD 21202 Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Website: https://tinyurl.com/yyghby65 Admission: Ages 1 and up $17.95

View Art or Make Art American Visionary Art Museum This museum highlights works from

self-taught artists in both permanent and temporary collections. Address: 800 Key Hwy., Baltimore, MD 21230 Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Website: http://avam.org Admission: Adults $15.95, students $9.95, seniors $13.95

Walters Art Museum Opened in 1934, the Walters Art Museum started as a gift from Henry Walters. Today, the museum houses more than 36,000 objects from across the globe. Address: 600 North Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: Wednesday and Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Website: https://thewalters.org Admission: Free

Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: See website for current season schedule and pricing. Website: https://everymantheatre.org

Hippodrome Theatre at FranceMerrick Performing Arts Center Opened in 1914, this historic theater continues to provide entertainment for the Baltimore community, including Broadway shows, dance performances, comedies and musicals. Address: 12 North Eutaw St., Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: See website for current season schedule and pricing. Website: www.france-merrickpac.com/ index.php

Everyman Theatre This local performing arts theater provides plays, classes and workshops for the community.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Established in 1916, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has an annual attendance of more than 350,000 concert attendees and has had 89 world premiere performances. It was the first orchestra in the United States to have a female musical director.

Address: 315 West Fayette St.,

Address: 1212 Cathedral St.,

Baltimore Parks The city of Baltimore is a leader in parks and recreation, with 262 parks and almost 6,000 acres set aside for parks and urban wilderness. More than a third of the city is covered by green space, and 85 percent of the population is within walkable park access. Beyond its extensive green space, Baltimore has painstakingly inventoried and assessed its tree population. There are more than 120,000 trees within the city limits, with 28,000 of them located in parks. Baltimore’s tree inventory is available online and includes location and tree identification. So, if a tour of trees is up your alley — check out the Baltimore Tree Inventory map (https://tinyurl.com/y5whbb94) for the complete inventory of trees or Baltimore’s Notable and Favorite Trees (https:// tinyurl.com/y3l97m2p) for a list of favorite trees, state champions, city champions, exemplary specimens, unusual species, notable, historic and memorable trees.


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Baltimore, MD 21201 Hours: See website for current season schedule and pricing. Website: www.bsomusic.org

Baltimore Museum of Art Collections from the art masters, stunning sculpture gardens and vast open spaces make this art museum a must-see. Address: 10 Art Museum Dr., Baltimore, MD 21218 Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Website: https://artbma.org Admission: Free

Corradetti Glassblowing Studio Whether you enjoy the art of glass blowing or want to try it yourself, the Corradetti Glassblowing Studio is a one-of-a-kind workshop and gallery. Address: 2010 Clipper Park Rd., #119, Baltimore, MD 21211 Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. See the website for workshop schedules. Website: www.corradetti.com Admission: No charge for the gallery, workshop cost varies.

Where to Eat Baltimore consists of a host of neighborhoods, each distinctive and one of a kind. Each neighborhood offers a unique dining experience with plenty of restaurant options. Bromo Tower Arts & Entertainment District A thriving downtown arts district. • BricknFire Pizza Company (Pizza) www.bricknfirepizza

Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks Welcomes NRPA’s 2019 Conference Attendees Enjoy your visit, explore our county and restore yourself at our signature festival following the conference. Twist & Stout, a fine wine and craft beer festival, will feature live music from some of the region’s best bands, gourmet food trucks from around the state and juried artisan vendors creating on-site. Set at the picturesque Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, Maryland, the activities provide the perfect ambiance for a fun-filled fall day in the park. The 2019 festival, to be held on Saturday, September 28, is expected to draw close to 3,000 attendees. This year, proceeds will go to the Friends of Quiet Waters Park Nature Center Campaign, which promotes environmental education, advocacy and stewardship. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to our project partnership with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation for new athletic fields in Brooklyn Park. For more information, visit www.twistandstout.org.

company.com • Diamond Tavern (American) https://tinyurl.com/y634q2e2 • Faidley’s Seafood (Seafood) www.faidleyscrabcakes.com • Forno (Modern Italian) www. fornobaltimore.com • Pickles Pub (Pub) www.pickles pub.com • Pratt Street Ale House (English style pub) www.prattstreetale house.com • The Yard (Seafood and Maryland classics) https://tinyurl. com/yxqjpakl Canton Known for its traditional Baltimore row houses and churches, this neighborhood centers around O’Donnell Square. • Bo Brooks at Lighthouse Point (Seafood) www.bobrooks.com • Canton Dockside (Seafood) www.cantondockside.com • Claddagh Pub (Irish/American) https://claddaghbaltimore.com • Verde (Italian/Vegetarian) www. verdepizza.com

Federal Hill Within walking distance to the harbor, this neighborhood is popular with young professionals. Federal Hill Park has some of the best views in the area. • Blue Agave Restaurante Y Tequileria (Mexican) www.blue agaverestaurant.com • Bluegrass Tavern (Southern) www.bluegrasstavern.com • Bookmakers Cocktail Club (American) http://bookmakers baltimore.com • Hersh’s (Italy) https://hershs. com • Little Havana (Cuban) www.littlehavanas.com • Mother’s Federal Hill Grille (Pub) www.mothersgrille.com • Regi’s American Bistro (American Bistro) www.regisamerican bistro.com • The Rowhouse Grille (Coastal American) www.therowhouse grille.com • Ryleigh’s Oyster (American/ Seafood) www.ryleighs.com

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Fell’s Point Picturesque views of the waterfront coupled with cobblestone streets make this neighborhood a popular tourist choice. A wide variety of stores and boutiques make this a popular shopping area as well. • Alexander’s Tavern (American) www.alexanderstavern.com • Barcocina (Mexican) www. barcocina.com • Bond Street Social (Tapas/ American) www.bondstreet social.com • Max’s Taphouse (Maryland’s largest selection of draughts) www.maxs.com • Points South Latin Kitchen (Central & South American Latin cuisine) www.pointssouth baltimore.com • The Point in Fell’s www.the pointfells.com • Twist (Mediterranean/Moroccan) http://twistfellspoint.com Hampden A modest neighborhood community with a small-town feel, Hampden’s restaurants and stores are centered around the Avenue (36th St.). • Birroteca (Modern rustic Italian) www.bmorebirroteca.com 80 Parks & Recreation

• Café Hon (Baltimore homestyle) http://cafehon.com • The Charmery (Ice cream) www.thecharmery.com • Cosima (Sicilian and Southern Italian) www.cosimamill1.com • The Food Market (American/ Seafood) www.thefoodmarket baltimore.com • La Cuchara (Basque) www.la cucharabaltimore.com • Woodberry Kitchen (Organic) www.woodberrykitchen.com Harbor East This is a newly renovated area that has upscale charm and is popular with both locals and visitors. • Azumi (Japanese) www. azumirestaurant.com/baltimore • Bar Vasquez (Argentine) https://barvasquez.com • Charleston (New American) www.charlestonrestaurant.com • Lebanese Taverna (Mediterranean) www.lebanesetaverna.com • Loch Bar (Seafood) https:// lochbar.com • Ouzo Bay (Greek/Seafood) www.ouzobay.com

The Capital Grille (Grill) https://tinyurl.com/y2v2gsaw Diamond Tavern (American) https://tinyurl.com/y634q2e2 French Kitchen, Lord Baltimore Hotel (French) www.lord baltimorehotel.com Fogo de Chao (Brazilian) https://fogodechao.com/location/ baltimore Leinekugel’s Beer Garden (Outdoor beer garden) www.power plantlive.com/dining/drink/leinie -lodge-beer-garden Miss Shirley’s Café (Southern) www.missshirleys.com Phillips Seafood (Seafood) www.phillipsseafood.com Pratt Street Ale House (American) www.prattstreetalehouse.com Rusty Scupper (Seafood, beef, pasta) www.rusty-scupper.com Sullivan’s Steakhouse (Steakhouse) https://tinyurl.com/yyp mxv9y Tir Na Nog (Irish) www. tir nanogbaltimore.com Watertable Restaurant (American/Seafood) www.watertable restaurant.com

Inner Harbor The Inner Harbor is located along the waterfront and is a bustling, vibrant tourist area with a wide variety of hotels and the convention center. Apropoe’s (American) www. ApropoesHarborEast.com B&O American Brasserie (American) www.bandorestaurant.com Bistro 300 (American) www.bal timore.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining Brio (Italian) www.brioitalian.com Bubba Gump Shrimp www.bub bagump.com/locations/baltimore

Little Italy A neighborhood with old-world charm, Little Italy is the place to experience a taste of the homeland. • Aldo’s Ristorante Italiano (Italian) www.aldositaly.com • Café Gia Ristorante of Little Italy (Italian) www.cafegia baltimore.com • Ciao Bella Ristorante (Italian) www.therealciaobella.com • Da Mimmo’s Finest Italian Cuisine www.damimmo.com • Germano’s Piattini (Italian) http://germanospiattini.com

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• La Scala www.lascaladining.com • La Tavola Ristorante Italiano https://la-tavola.com • Sabatino’s Italian Restaurant www.sabatinos.com Mount Vernon Considered the cultural district of Baltimore, this neighborhood is full of the arts and notable architecture. • The Brewer’s Art (Eclectic) www.thebrewersart.com • City Café (New American) www.citycafebaltimore.com • FLAVOR (American) http:// orderflavormd.com • The Helmand Restaurant (Afghan) www.helmand.com • The Land of Kush (Casual vegan) http://landofkush.com • Magdalena (Cross-cultural) www.theivybaltimore.com/ dine/restaurant • The Prime Rib (Steakhouse) www.theprimerib.com • Poets Modern Cocktails & Eats (Regional) www.baltimoreindigo hotel.com/poets-restaurant • Sascha’s 527 Restaurant (New American) www.saschas.com • Sotto Sopra (Contemporary Italian) www.sottosoprainc.com Station North This area was the first area in Baltimore to be designated as an arts and entertainment district. • Joe Squared (Pizza) www. joesquared.com • Pen & Quill (New American) http://penandquill.net • Tapas Teatro (Spanish) http:// tapasteatro.com Paula Jacoby-Garrett is a Freelance Writer located in Las Vegas, Nevada (paula.jacoby. garrett@gmail.com).

MORE POWER FOR YOUR PARK milbankworks.com

Power distribution for lighting, RV/campsites, parks/athletic fields, and festivals/events.

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The Importance of Parks Build Community Donors and Their Shared Vision By Suzanne Nathan


ach year, NRPA conducts a complete park makeover in partnership with park equipment manufacturers and community organizations within the city hosting the NRPA Annual Conference. Parks Build Community (PBC) is a national initiative demonstrating the transformative value of parks on the health and vitality of communities across America. Some previous projects included restoring existing parks, while others involved building new parks completely from scratch. The vision to build and revitalize parks as thriving gathering places for youth, families and adults is one shared by NRPA, its industry and nonprofit partners, and the thousands of park and recreation professionals who develop and maintain these treasured public places.

Construction is in full swing on the 2019 Parks Build Community (PBC) renovation of Catherine Street Park in Baltimore, Maryland. The revitalized park will become a new space for children and adults to gather, play and experience a safe and fun environment. This project would not be possible without the generous contributions of donors and an invested local park agency, such as Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP). NRPA asked the 2019 PBC donors why they decided to participate in this year’s PBC project and

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to describe their assessment of how parks benefit local communities. Some of the 2019 partners have been with NRPA since the PBC initiative began in 2008, others are new to the project this year. All share valuable viewpoints on how parks build communities. Sam Mendelsohn, Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Inc., President and CEO “NRPA’s Parks Build Community project dovetails perfectly with Greenfields’ mission of ‘Promoting Wellness and Fighting Obesity One Community at a Time.’ This is not just our slogan and mission, but the path we have chosen to take every day. We take great pride in the fact that we can help improve tens of thousands of people’s lives daily. We also take pride in our partnership with NRPA and love the opportunity to visit the sites designated for the PBC Project prior to planning. Visiting Catherine Street Park and interacting

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with the local community firsthand only emphasizes the importance of the joint effort and collaboration demonstrated by the teams that donate to this project. It is ever so clear to me that we have an obligation and responsibility to invest in our communities. Partnering in support of the PBC project is only a part of it, and we will continue to support this initiative for as long as we can.” Anne-Marie Spencer, PlayCore Corporate Vice President of Marketing “PlayCore is intrinsically focused on our mission and values, and we understand the many ways that great play and recreation spaces can promote the overall health and wellness of families. We’re excited to have the ability to help provide environments that act as a catalyst to make that happen. People need places to go to be together, to share community, to be active and to promote health and wellness. Parks are uniquely able to serve all these needs and build community capital and a sense of pride. CDC research has shown that creating, improving and promoting places to be physically active can improve individual and community health and result in a 25 percent increase of residents who exercise at least three times per week, which is so important in reversing the health issues that affect so many people.”

Sarah Lisiecki, BCI Burke Marketing Communications and Education Specialist “Play is an important part of development in all areas, from physical to social to emotional. Children need a space to play that fosters all these types of development and provides a comfortable place for rest, intergenerational engagement and community gathering. Providing these places is our passion and our mission. Participating in Parks Build Community allows us to leave a place we all travel to more playful and developmentally rich for years to come. It’s the type of impact we strive to provide with every project. Parks and recreation spaces impact the health, happiness and engagement of communities by creating a space for everyone to gather, move, play and socialize. People seek to be outdoors in a place that connects them to each other and their community. As a society, we are becoming less healthy, more depressed and anxious, and less connected. While the fix is multifaceted, play and parks are certainly part of the solution. And, play is fun and helps children learn and develop the necessary skills that transcend the playground, while breaking down barriers that may exist in other areas of life. Parks create a place for everyone to thrive, grow and develop together.” Kara Oughton, GARED Holdings Marketing Manager “GARED is an advocate for rebuilding communities and rejuvenating play for people of all ages. Our ongoing mission is to provide sports equipment solutions to renovate and restore community spaces, such as Catherine Street

Park in Baltimore. On this project, GARED is pleased to partner, once again, with NRPA, which shares our passion for play and the importance of sports and recreation in communities across the country. We believe parks are crucial in several ways. They foster a sense of togetherness and inclusion for the community, and for individual families to gather and enjoy each other through recreational activities. Parks are also important for promoting physical well-being for people of all ages through hiking trails and paths, playgrounds, recreational facilities, water activities or sports leagues. In addition, parks are amazing places for wildlife habitat to flourish, allowing families to connect with and learn more about nature and animal species.” Bob Simonsen, R.J. Thomas Mfg./ Pilot Rock Marketing Manager “We have participated in three PBC programs and enjoy being part of a larger project to improve park facilities for areas in need. We appreciate having some of our Pilot Rock site amenities included. It’s kind of a “real life” trade show exhibit with the other brands and equipment on display for people to use. All we have to do is look locally to see how important parks are to a community, and how enthusiastically people will support them. Our hometown of Cherokee, Iowa, has embarked on a project, led by volunteers, to greatly expand our trails system and parkland. In just a short time, they’ve raised the money with donations and grants to purchase land. There is much local participation that will design and furnish the new trails in the next year. The city has also suf-

fered three floods in the last year that laid waste to two very popular park areas. City funds are limited, but local groups have stepped up to raise the money needed to relocate the disk golf course and other amenities. And, many people are involved in the discussion of how best to replace these two flooded areas with new parklands. All these efforts began with the people of Cherokee wanting to improve their park facilities. Even small towns can accomplish great things.” Byron Carroll, Vice President of Product Management at ACTIVE Network “ACTIVE has spent many years providing technology solutions, IT and digital marketing services to the parks and recreation industry. We’ve been fortunate to witness the selfless passion and commitment the people of parks have for building strong, equitable communities. Our team at ACTIVE is constantly inspired by this dedication to public service and its immeasurable impact. So, when we learned about this project, we jumped at the opportunity to enable those who already give so much to bettering other people’s lives. ACTIVE has always supported organizations that share our mission of making the world a more active place, but this is our first year being involved in the Parks Build Community project. The NRPA pillars and ACTIVE’s mission are so closely

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aligned that when we heard about this project, we knew it was a perfect fit. What parks and the people who dedicate their lives to the parks industry do for the community is incredible. Whether it’s providing recreational activities to underprivileged kids or simply safe places for people to come together, the benefits of parks cannot be overstated.” Nick Toutoungi, Managing Director and Cinema Tech Expert for EPIC Outdoor Cinema “Movies are an excellent way to bring communities together through a night of laughter, suspense and amazement. EPIC Out-

door Cinema understands the civic value and vital role neighborhood parks play as the nucleus of any neighborhood. We continuously participate in PBC to support our most vulnerable cities by creating a true community centerpiece with the goal of encouraging social, environmental and economic revitalization. Parks serve as a place where communities enjoy the great outdoors while engaging, celebrating and connecting in a safe space accessible to all. Our vision is to integrate technology as a versatile solution at parks — making a big impact with small staffing needs — creating EPIC experiences.” Bri Whitcraft, Director of Marketing & Product Development for Dero “It’s wonderful to be part of a community project to give back. Parks are so integral to our communities and everyone should be able to easily access a park in their community. And, we’re grateful that you can help make sure that if you choose to

bicycle to your park, that you’ll have a safe place to lock it while your kids enjoy the playground, or you take a water break. Parks benefit communities greatly by saving green space for people to enjoy. Whether that’s biking on trails or kids playing on the playground, these activities let people enjoy moving their bodies and being in nature.” NRPA, BCRP and PBC donors look forward to the grand reopening of Catherine Street Park this September to kick off the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference. Please join us for the dedication ceremony, Sunday, September 22, 2019, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 501 South Catherine Street, Baltimore, Maryland. To learn more about PBC projects or to become a donor, contact Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA’s vice president of marketing, communications and publishing at gcohen@nrpa.com.

Suzanne Nathan is NRPA’s Public Relations Manager (snathan@nrpa.org).

Donors and organizations involved in the 2019 PBC project include: • Active Network www.activenetwork.com • BCI Burke Playgrounds www.bciburke.com • California Sports Surfaces www.californiasportssurfaces.com • Dero www.dero.com • DuMor www.dumor.com • Epic Outdoor Cinema www.epicoutdoorcinema.com • GameTime

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www.gametime.com • GARED www.garedsports.com • Greenfields Outdoor Fitness www.gfoutdoorfitness.com • Johns Hopkins University www.jhu.edu • Most Dependable Fountains, Inc. www.mostdependable.com • NC State University www.ncsu.edu • OpenSpace Radio www.nrpa.org/blog/Podcasts

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• Parks & Recreation magazine www.parksandrecreation.org • Physical Activity Research Center (PARC) www.paresearchcenter.org • Pilot Rock www.pilotrock.com • PlayCore www.playcore.com • Playworld www.playworld.com • Vortex www.vortex-intl.com





2019 Local Host Committee The Baltimore Local Host Committee is proud to welcome all NRPA Conference attendees: Local Host City Director Reginal Moore Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Local Host Committee Chairs Cortney Weinstock Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Chuck Montrie Maryland Recreation & Park Association Treasurer Adrienne Varieur Maryland Recreation & Park Association Transportation Co-Chairs Bob Wall Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Di Quynn Reno Greenbelt Recreation

Hospitality Mark Bonitatibus Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Laura Wetherald Howard County Recreation & Parks Department Visit Baltimore Liaison Camille Spilker Visit Baltimore

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Golf Tournament Co-Chairs Jenny Morgan Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Phil Bryan Howard County Recreation & Parks Department Accessibility Bob Signor Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Susan Potts Howard County Recreation & Parks Department Sponsorship Co-Chair Bill Vondrasek Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Steve Carter The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Marketing Tierra Brown Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Holly Harden Howard County Recreation & Parks Department Volunteer Co-Chairs Fran Spero Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Marybeth Dugan Montgomery Parks

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5K Co-Chairs Delaney Cate Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Julija Sajauskas Howard County Recreation & Parks Department Off-Site Learning Co-Chairs James Lawrence Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Jennene Blakely Montgomery Parks

Shop Maryland Co-Chairs Jake Chesnutt The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission Cheryl Moran The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission David Mitchell Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Leisure Tours Co-Chairs Molly Gallant Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Betsy Thompson Betsy’s Tours Parks Build Community Adam Boarman Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department Denise Caldwell Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department


The 2019 Conference Program Committee The 2019 Conference Program Committee for the Baltimore Annual Conference provided an invaluable level of support for NRPA staff as, together, they work to recruit and select the best, most relevant education sessions to serve their peers and support NRPA’s Three Pillars — Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity. Proudly representing agencies from across the country and working in a variety of capacities within parks and recreation, this team spent the better part of the year determining what topics would be of most value to their colleagues, seeking out top speakers in the field and vetting hundreds of session proposal applications. We sincerely thank them for their hard work, wisdom and sacrifice.

The members of the 2019 Conference Program Committee (from left to right): Marcia Bowen, CPRP; Elisabeth Weaver; Chuck Szoke, CPRP; Nichole Bohner; Shonnda Smith, CPRP, AFO; Karla Henderson, Ph.D.; Michael Klitzing, CPRE; Laurel Richmond, Ph.D., CPRP; Janet Bartnik, CPRP; Ines Palacios, Ph.D.; Mike Hoffmeister, CPRP; Cortney Weinstock, CPRP; Sven Leff, CPRE; Lucky D’Ascanio, CPRP; Ed Matthews, CPRP, AFO; Nikki Ginger, CPRE; John Prue; Koboi Simpson, CPRP; Karen Hesser, CPRP; Chris Matthews.

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THANK YOU SPONSORS We would like to thank the generous sponsors of the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference

® ™

If you are interested in sponsoring the NRPA Annual Conference, please contact Lindsay Shannon at lshannon@nrpa.org or 703.858.2178


AmpliVox Mega Hailer Easy-to-use, portable PA system reaches up to 5,000 people alone or 9,000 with optional wireless companion speaker. Broadcasts up to a half mile. AC power or rechargeable battery. Wireless microphones available. Bluetooth compatible. www.ampli.com/portable-pasystem/680-mega-hailer.aspx 800.267.5486

The AquaZipN entices riders of every age and is a high-throughput, exciting addition to any pool facility. Add adventure to your programming today! www.aquaclimb.com info@aquaclimb.com 800.956.6692

Turn your pool into an adventure playground! AquaClimb products bring active, engaging adventure to your pool. Increase traffic and revenue with expanded programming. www.aquaclimb.com info@aquaclimb.com 800.956.6692


NRPA 2019 September 24 th - 25 th , 2019

Since 1971, Berliner Seilfabrik has established its name as the world’s leading manufacturer of rope-based play equipment. The innovation of its “living playgrounds” ensures interactive, challenging and invaluable fun for kids of all ages. www.berliner-playequipment.com 864.627.1092 Booth #6012

DURABLE • SAFE • FUN come visit booth #5228 to learn more about our products bluerabbitplay.com

Streetscape Acrylotex 1000 A 100 percent acrylic coating designed for use on asphalt and concrete surfaces. Provides a colorful mediumtexture, non-skid surface for bike lanes, pedestrian walkways, plazas, patios, athletic courts, spray parks and more. orders-sports@icpgroup.com 800.225.1141 Booth #1806

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Providing customized play solutions for more than 30 years, CedarWorks play systems use beautiful design and natural materials to bring active play to any play area.   www.cedarworks.com/commercial 800.462.3327

No More Paperwork! Replace illegible, incomplete, and impractical medical forms with ePACT’s easy one-and-done process, helping you focus on what’s important - your programs! 1-855-773-7228 www.epactnetwork.com

Creating sustainable solutions for the commercial, parks and hospitality industries with custom waste and recycling bins and personalized site furnishings. Join the revolution. https://landmarkstudio.com 888.839.3853 Booth #6530

Booth #5616 National Construction Rentals is the largest supplier of fence and barricades in the country, serving in over 275 metro-areas from coast-to-coast! www.rentnational.com 800.352.5675 Booth #6424

Products you want, Service you need. Over 120,000 products for your aquatic needs! Lincoln Aquatics offers better access for faster delivery with nationwide distribution.

(800) 223- 5450 www.lincolnaquatics.com 90 Parks & Recreation

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Spider Pyramids With intricate multidirectional grip capacity and a strategic internal rope network, NetPlay USA LLC™ Spider Pyramids offer a truly exciting, agevariable addition to any playscape. netplayusa.com 860.531.2391 Booth #5940

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Safe Slide Restoration’s mission is to keep you safe by inspecting and repairing water slides and water parks. Contact us for a free quote today! www.safeslides.com 855.639.7543 Booth #5840


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NRPA UPDATE The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey A good starting place for park and rec salary examinations By Melissa May


ne word often comes up when describing park and recreation employees — passion. Passion for the natural environment, for the mission of parks and recreation and, especially, for the residents of their local community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were more than 157,000 full-time employees of local park and recreation agencies throughout the United States in 2017, with several hundred thousand more part-time and seasonal workers. It is these skilled teams that program events, maintain facilities and otherwise ensure that all U.S. residents can access and enjoy all that their local park and recreation agencies have to offer. While an innate passion and enthusiasm drive these dedicated individuals to work daily, fair compensation is necessary in retaining and further recruiting the best employees. The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report features detailed base salary and bonus data, including sample job descriptions, for 10 typical park and recreation agency positions: • Park and Recreation Agency Director (or Executive Director or Superintendent)

• Planning Director (or Superintendent) • Director of Finance (or Administrative Director or Business Manager) • Recreation Director (or Recreation Superintendent or Assistant Director - Recreation) • Park Operations Director (or Maintenance Director or Maintenance Superintendent) • Park Operations (or Maintenance Foreman) • Facilities Manager • Athletics Supervisor (or Athletics Manager) • Aquatics Supervisor (or Aquatics Manager) • Recreation Programs Coordinator (or Recreations Programs Manager)


Greater professional experience

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Greater education attainment

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A professional certification

Many factors, such as region, education, certification, agency size, years of professional experience and more, go into an agency’s base salary and bonus structure. These factors are acutely important in the field of parks and recreation because of the uniqueness of each agency and make the 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report a good starting place for salary examinations. Aside from detailed base salary and bonus data for the 10 positions previously mentioned, the salary survey report touches on another area of importance to employees — benefits. An agency’s benefits package can either “make it or break it” for recruiting and retaining the best candidates. The 2019 NRPA Park and Recreation Salary Survey report gives an overview of the typical leave time, health insurance premiums, retirement plans and salary or bonus adjustment determinants found at park agencies throughout the United States. It also dives into various minimum-wage policies and the factors used to determine seasonal workers’ starting wages. The passionate individuals of parks and recreation strive to enhance the community experience of each resident who visits their facilities or attends their programs. While they are not looking for praise, they are well within their rights to make a decent living doing what they love, which, in turn, makes their community healthy and vibrant. Visit www.nrpa.org/publica tions-research/research-papers/ salary-survey-results for more information about the salary survey or to download a summary of, or access, the full report. — Melissa May, NRPA’s Senior Research Manager

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Philip Wu, M.D., Joins the NRPA Board of Directors


r. Philip Wu, a retired pediatric obesity specialist from Kaiser Permanente Northwest Region, will officially become a member of the 2019– 2020 NRPA Board of Directors at the end of this month. Dr. Wu has been a pediatrician with Kaiser since 1997 and his special interests include obesity prevention in children and promoting healthy living for families. He is currently working on broadening the scope of healthcare to include collaboration with community organizations/businesses in addressing healthcare disparities. Dr. Wu serves on several community boards, including the Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Oral Health Coalition, Outside In, The Intertwine Alliance and Oregon Environmental Council. He has an interest in transportation as a “social determinant” and has participated on the transportation committee of the Westside Economic Alliance, the Washington County Transportation Futures

Study project and Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Options Policy Advisory Committee. He recently concluded two years of service on Metro’s Equity Strategy Advisory Committee. He received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and completed his residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Wu and his partner enjoy walking, hiking and sim-

ply being in nature. To learn more about the members of NRPA’s board of directors, go online to www.nrpa.org/lead ership. To read about the “Leadership Changes at NRPA,” visit www. nrpa.org/leadership-changes.

NRPA’s Dolesh a 2019 Pugsley Medals Recipient


he American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration’s (AAPRA) Honorable Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medals are the most prestigious awards that recognize outstanding contributions by an individual to the promotion and development of public parks and conservation in the United States. NRPA’s Richard J. Dolesh joins the ranks of distinguished honorees, which include the likes of Stephen T. Mather, a key figure in the formation of the National Park Service and its first director. Dolesh has worked tirelessly to advance parks and conservation at the local, state and national level. Moreover, he provides remarkable insight on a broad range of subjects, serving as a teacher, mentor, advocate, leader, author and conservationist. As both a devoted public servant and an advocate for conservation, he communicates a deeper understanding

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of issues and challenges that have far-reaching implications for individuals, communities and the nation. Dolesh’s contributions to parks and recreation can be measured by the many ways he shows leadership, his personal and professional commitments to conservation, and the conservation causes he champions, such as Parks for Pollinators and The Great Urban Parks Campaign. Dolesh, who joined NRPA in 2002, is a frequent

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contributor to the award-winning Parks & Recreation magazine and has written numerous articles on parks and natural resources in publications, including The Washington Post and National Geographic magazine. His annual “Trends” articles are eagerly anticipated and always well-received. “I am thrilled his outstanding contributions to parks and conservation have been recognized with this prestigious and well-deserved award,” says NRPA President and CEO Kristine Stratton. “Congratulations, Rich! We are grateful for your many years of leadership and commitment to the field.” The Pugsley Medals will be given at AAPRA’s annual banquet, Wednesday, September 25, 2019, in Baltimore.

Developing Community-Integrated Health Strategies


ealthcare and park and recreation agencies share a common goal: improving the health of the communities they serve. To support collaboration between these two community-health stakeholders, NRPA developed a guide, titled Increasing Referrals to Community-Based Programs and Services: An Electronic Health Record Referral Process. The guide is based on the pilot implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) referral process. During the pilot, healthcare providers identified individuals with arthritis and referred them to evidence-based interventions offered at local park and recreation sites. Implementing the four-step referral process led 26 percent of those re-

ferred to enroll in a program at a park and recreation site. Healthcare providers and community-based organizations can use the guide to identify and refer individuals with any type of chronic disease to a variety of programs and services. It provides the following: • An overview of the importance and use of partnerships between health-

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care entities and community-based organizations • Instructions on how to replicate the EHR referral process • Sample communication materials • Tips and lessons learned from the piloting organizations • Resources for developing and maintaining healthcare partnerships By collaborating, these organizations can develop communityintegrated health strategies to enhance access to the programs and services that improve health and quality of life.

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Parks & Recreation Crossword

Across 1 Exercise program goal 5 Not part of an urban area 8 Started a campfire 9 Overall purposes 10 Wet ground 11 Little League arbiter, abbr. 13 Rugged rock 15 Fun activities – can serve as educational aids 18 Depend 20 Royal Academy, for short 21 Comparison suffix 24 Setting for the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, abbr. 26 Distinctive theory 28 Cold-weather phenomenon 29 Haven 31 Like plants that are natural to a region 33 NRPA’s new CEO, Kristine ______ 34 Redwood or oak, e.g. 36 Parks communicate the value of our natural _____

Down 1 When the leaves turn brown 2 One-on-one educator 3 Get involved with 4 Gifts for kids you can find at the NRPA Annual Conference 5 Start up again 6 Runs playfully, like many kids in parks 7 Energy-saving type of light 12 Portland’s state 14 Hot Springs National Park is in this state 16 Water body 17 Vermont town awarded grant funding for the 10-Minute Walk 19 Dieter’s measurement 20 50-yard dash is one 22 Make a comeback 23 __ __ rule (usually) 25 Different as people from different countries and backgrounds 26 Like some soccer games 27 Denali for one 30 Enjoyed a bench 32 Dry run 35 Stylish

Complete the crossword, then visit www.nrpa.org/crossword to verify your answers and to enter a drawing to receive a $50 shopping credit for AthleticJunction.com. A winner will be randomly selected September 30, 2019. 96 Parks & Recreation

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Supporting Farmers Markets and CSAs in Park and Recreation Spaces


ark and recreation sites provide a unique opportunity to engage the community and educate residents about healthy foods. Hosting farmers markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) programs in these spaces not only increases the availability of healthy, fresh foods, but also supports local agriculture initiatives. NRPA released the following resources to help park and rec agencies introduce and expand farmers markets and CSAs at their sites: • “Bringing a Farmers Market to Your Park and Recreation Sites” outlines the steps to take, from gathering information to choosing partners. • “Starting a Community Supported Agriculture Program at Your Park

and Recreation Site” describes CSAs and outlines the steps to set one up. • “Farmers Market: Fun for Kids!” provides interactive activity sheets to get kids involved. • “Community Supported Agriculture: Fun for Kids!” educates about CSAs and offers activities for kids. • “Engaging Teens in Commit to Health Programming: Farmers Mar-

kets, CSAs and More!” explains the ways teens can contribute to nutrition literacy, as well as farmers market and CSA programs. • “Intergenerational Fun! Older Adults and Kids Join in Nutrition and Wellness Activities at Park and Recreation Sites” shares ideas for hosting intergenerational activities that promote knowledge transfer. Access these and other resources supporting nutritional education at www.nrpa.org/our-work/ partnerships/initiatives/commit-tohealth.

Live Stream Top Sessions from the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference September 24–26, 2019 nrpa.org/NRPALive

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NRPA Waives CAPRA Application Fee


chieving accreditation by NRPA’s Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) is the best way to prove that your agency and your staff are providing your community with the highest level of service. Being CAPRA accredited means you are meeting, or exceeding, standards maintained by park and recreation leaders, and will strengthen the value of the programs, facilities and experiences you offer your community. “We already know that we perform best practices within our agency, but being CAPRA accredited really ensures that we are doing the right thing for the right reason and in the right ways,” says Stephanie Stephens, with the California Park & Recreation Society — home to four CAPRA-accredited agencies. The benefits of accreditation are

far reaching. This mark of excellence allows your agency to stand apart from other nearby, non-accredited agencies and catches the attention of your elected officials by demonstrating the value of your department. On top of that, accreditation creates an environment for regular review of operations, policies and procedures, and pro-

motes continual improvement. This fall is the best time to start the accreditation process because NRPA is waiving the $100 CAPRA application fee from October 1 to December 13, 2019. Visit www.nrpa.org/CAPRA to learn how to get accredited and use code CAPRA100 to apply for free.

ACCREDITATION PROVES THAT YOUR AGENCY MEETS THE HIGHEST STANDARDS LIMITED TIME OFFER: No application fee if you use code CAPRA100 when you apply between October 1 - December 13, 2019


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Member Spotlight: Denise Johnson-Caldwell By Lindsay Collins


ith a degree in public recreation/education from Ohio State University, Denise Johnson-Caldwell began her park and recreation career working with the City of Columbus (Ohio) Park and Recreation summer and indoor programs before becoming a center director. Inspired by a curiosity about park design, she returned to Ohio State University and earned a graduate degree in landscape architecture before joining Baltimore City (Maryland) Recreation and Parks. As a design planner, she works on many projects — from playgrounds, sport courts and fields, and aquatic sites, to stormwater management, among others. This year, Johnson-Caldwell is also assisting with the NRPA Parks Build Community (PBC) project — the new Catherine Street Park in Baltimore — which will be unveiled at the NRPA Annual Conference. Parks & Recreation recently spoke with Johnson-Caldwell to learn more about her role at Baltimore City Recreation and Parks and how her work is contributing to the community. Parks & Recreation: You have played a critical role in the development of an inclusive community playground in Mount Washington’s Northwest Park. Tell us a bit more about the process, the importance of this park and its impact on the community. Denise Johnson-Caldwell: The new playground design was accessible but didn’t have special adaptive equipment for inclusive play. After construction of the latest renovation, I designed a plan for a future play space to include more adaptive swings, but this next phase hasn’t yet been implemented. The park is still undergoing renovations — near the playground, we are putting in an extension of Jones Fall Trail and

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updating the garden. Parking improvements and the park entrance area renovation will soon follow. So far, it has made an immediate and positive impact, as the playground is used heavily since being completed. The community implemented a playground design survey throughout the neighborhood and collaborated with Recreation and Parks about what to include in the playground design. The entire experience of working with a well-informed group was enjoyable. We work to make sure all our playgrounds are accessible and to provide equipment for different ages and abilities. However, Farring-Baybrook Recreation Center in Baltimore is specifically geared toward inclusivity. The playground was designed to have a greater degree of inclusive play equipment and the facility provides programing aimed toward those with special needs. P&R: This year, you are taking part in NRPA’s 2019 Parks Build

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Community. What does PBC mean to you? What do you think it means to the community? Johnson-Caldwell: With the park build, we are making accommodations to include many of the donations that are being offered, which allows us to provide more amenities to the neighborhood and the community than what we could have provided initially. It’s a fantastic opportunity. We had a capital playground renovation planned, but, now, a much larger playground is being built. We can provide fitness equipment, an upgraded basketball court, along with other amenities we weren’t able to provide before. The playground has become a higher-quality site. NRPA has offered us many opportunities through PBC. We certainly are doing our work on our end with site design and construction, but I really see where NRPA is doing the work on their end. It’s also impressive how NRPA is engaging with the community on different levels. [The organization] had a “movie in the park” event, where [NRPA staffers] came out and showed they cared to do something with Baltimore City Recreation and Parks to have a positive impact. Also, the research effort with Johns Hopkins plans to look at the PBC’s effect on the community a few years down the road. Stakeholders with other park projects have approached us wanting to do something similar, and I’m excited to explain what

we are doing at Catherine Street Park. In addition to providing product donations, NRPA is providing a financial gift from a Target Corporation grant. P&R: How do you imagine the future of parks and rec in Baltimore? Do you have any future projects or ideas in mind? Johnson-Caldwell: I think parks and rec in Baltimore is on an excellent path with very enthusiastic and supportive leadership. The director is engaged with department staff and the Baltimore community, and I feel a high level of commitment from him. He wants to be here for a long time to make things better, which motivates me to do the best

I can in my work. We are making positive strides by adding key personnel in each division within the department and producing good recreational opportunities for Baltimore. We are also starting to talk more about equity across the city and being intentional about meeting community needs. We have some great capital master plans occurring, like CC Jackson/ Park Heights, Bocek Park and Solo Gibbs Park and projects in construction, which include Cahill Recreation Center, Clifton Tennis renovation, Little Italy bocce courts and McKim park renovation, to name a few. We’re also excited about unique, up-and-coming projects, like Druid Park Lake and Middle Branch Fit-

ness and Wellness Center at Cherry Hill, Druid Hill Park aquatic center and Dypski playground. With these projects and more, we’re trying to serve the community the best we can through collaboration with them. P&R: What’s your favorite way to unwind? Johnson-Caldwell: Two things: the first is enjoying the company of family and friends. I value relationships with others and spending quality time with them is special and relaxing. Second, I also enjoy unwinding with various fitness activities. I like to be active every day! — Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor, Parks & Recreation magazine


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Hot Topics NRPA Connect is an online network with more than 62,000 professionals, who are willing to answer your questions, share your challenges and discuss trending topics in the field. Check out one of the topics being discussed this month: Dogs on Ball Fields: Pro or Con? — Have you had to implement policies and/or codes about not allowing dogs on ball fields? Do you have different rules for natural vs. artificial turf fields? Individuals taking their dogs onto ball fields is increasingly resulting in staff doing additional “pickups” prior to sport leagues playing on those fields. Following are some suggestions offered by NRPA members: We added additional “Clean Up Pet Waste” signs and removed the gates where the zero turns [mowers] enter and exit the fields. This causes dog owners to have to watch their pets, reducing the number of dogs that are present. Then, our animal control officer talked to the dog owners. We would take a pic of the license plate and the ACO would contact the owner.

We have instituted a park rule that dogs are not allowed on athletic fields (natural turf or synthetic). We have a few parks that consist only of athletic fields that people love to have their dogs use off-leash. Picking up after the dogs is always a problem, but our rule is based more on dog bites to the users and park staff.

Many dog owners are responsible, but those who aren’t are ruining our fields, with dogs digging holes, defecating and ruining the field’s grass. We have yet to set parameters but realize this will probably need to change as the cost for maintenance increases for this unintended use of the facilities. Have a policy or suggestion? Log in to NRPA Connect (www.nrpaconnect.org) today to share! And, download the NRPA Connect App for continual access on the go.

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Are You Taking Advantage of Your NRPA Member Discount Programs?


RPA members receive news, exclusive education and networking opportunities, advocacy support, grant opportunities and much more to help them be successful. NRPA also offers special discounts on the products and services listed below, and, as a member, you get immediate access to these valuable benefits: Accessibility Audits – Receive a discount on all accessibility audits and services provided by W-T Group, LLC/ Recreation Accessibility Consultants. Visit RAC in booth 4918 at the NRPA Annual Conference. Background Screenings – Background Investigation Bureau (BIB) is NRPA’s exclusive background screening provider. BIB’s Secure Volunteer platform makes background screening of volunteers easy by combining great technology with a quality screen. Visit BIB in booth 4217 at the NRPA Annual Conference. Cooperative Purchasing Program – Gain access to thousands of quality products from multiple vendors with the cooperative purchasing program from OMNIA Partners. Emergency Network Platform – ePACT is an incredibly easy-to-use system to collect emergency information, waivers and consents. You can also use ePACT to communicate with your customers and their emergency contacts in a crisis. Visit ePACT in booth 6513 at the NRPA Annual Conference. Fun Express – Receive a 20 percent discount off retail prices on Fun Express/Oriental Trading Company, Inc., products, and get FREE UPS Ground shipping on orders of $125 or more. Fun Express will beat any advertised price from online competitors (including Amazon). Visit Fun Express in booth 6432 at the NRPA Annual Conference. Insurance Programs – Take advantage of NRPA’s many insurance programs, ranging from blanket recreational activities/ medical insurance plans, instructors and interns’ liability, team sports, football, equipment and not-for-profit organization liability insurance, provided by K&K. Visit K&K in booth 6445 at the NRPA Annual Conference. Contact Hayley Herzing, NRPA’s senior manager of membership, at hherzing@nrpa.org to learn more about the benefits members enjoy.

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 www.nrpa.org/education.

LIVE STREAM THE TOP SESSIONS FROM BALTIMORE Can’t make it to Baltimore for the 2019 NRPA Annual Conference? NRPA Live is the virtual version of the conference that allows you to stream and participate in some of the top conference education sessions from the comfort of your own home or office. This September 24–26, we are live streaming nine full education sessions and five speed sessions from the NRPA Annual Conference. Each NRPA Live session allows for real-time interaction with the speakers, continued access to the session archives and other conference-related content, and the opportunity to earn CEUs. Virtual attendees will also be able to access exclusive live content between sessions. Following the conference, 18 recorded sessions and 10 speed sessions from the conference will be available for streaming.

11-13 16-18 17-19 18-20 18-20 21-23

Saratoga Springs, New York Griffin, Georgia West Hollywood, California Dublin, Ohio Leesburg, Virginia Baltimore, Maryland

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September 24–26, 2019 Baltimore, Maryland www.nrpa.org/Conference

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March 15–20, 2020 Wheeling, WV




2 Phoenix, Arizona 24 Mission, Kansas

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OPERATIONS Tips for Increasing Concessions Cost Recovery By Sonia Myrick


s noted in the 2019 NRPA Agency Performance Review report released earlier this year, there continues to be a decline in general fund support from local and state governments for park and recreation systems across the country and increasingly agencies are being “challenged to generate more of their operating and maintenance costs from fees and charges.” The report further states that “the need for self-generated revenues could put pressure on agencies as they continue in their mission to serve all members of their communities, including those with little means to pay for park and recreation services. Balancing financial needs with the social equity mission will be one of the most challenging issues facing park and recreation professionals in the coming year and beyond.” It is a delicate balancing act. Generate too much income from concessions and a park may see

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its general funds support decline even further or see the funds it generates from concessions absorbed

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back into the city’s general fund. In this new normal of bike and ride sharing and mobile food delivery via services like food trucks, there seems to be any number of ways parks can provide patrons with services beyond the traditional food stand and kayak/boat rentals. Several years ago, the City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia’s Commission on Parks and Recreation commissioned a study of the park department’s concession operations to develop an overarching strategy.

TRAINING INDUSTRY LEADERS SINCE 1960 One of the strategic outcomes of this study was the idea of locating concessions around the park’s major entry points or “gateways,” with the hope of not only reenergizing the parks and their surrounding neighborhoods, but also generating the much-needed revenue for the parks. For example, through a concession deal with a bike rentals vendor, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation netted $45,000 that it was able to reinvest in park improvements and repairs. Food concessions is a mainstay for many parks. However, with minimum wages increasing and the cost of goods on the rise, how do park districts manage the cost of concessions operations without sacrificing the quality of their service and food, or raising prices sky high? How can they run a recession-proof operation that will generate revenue for many years to come? Parks & Recreation magazine reached out to Michael Holtzman, president and CEO of Profitable Food Facilities, who will be presenting on “The 10 Secrets of Concessions to Increase Cost Recovery” for some insight on what he will share in this session. Parks & Recreation: What are some of the major challenges facing park concessions and why? Michael Holtzman: Parks and recreation has built and operated ice rinks, sports fields, aquatic facilities, golf courses and recreation centers. The challenge is that all these facilities have a food component. Parks and recreation creates programs for communities, so operating food and beverage is not a normal part of its programming. Subbing out to a third party can give too much money to the third-party operator, leaving no money for the park district. Self-operating is difficult, as there is very little knowledge in the park and recreation industry about food and beverage. So, what do you do? This is what we will be discussing, all the options, in the presentation.


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P&R: How do you run an efficient, expedited line speed? Holtzman: Having the proper POS system that can ring up food efficiently like a restaurant. Out-dated systems will increase time spent with the customer and slow down your line speed. The least number of keystrokes to ring in an item the better. P&R: Where do you see park district health-forward food trends going in the next five to 10 years? Holtzman: With community health in mind, park districts are utilizing more fresh ingredients with local sourcing in mind. These food trends aren’t happening just in park districts — they are food industrywide!

P&R: Do you have an example of a park district that was able to turn around its concessions? Holtzman: The city of Grapevine, Texas, is operating a concession at a ballpark. Working with us over the course of three days, the city was able to increase concession sales from $300,000 to $500,000 in just one season. By offering different products, different cooking methods and a whole new approach, sales increased 60 percent and profits increased by 150 percent. Knowing which products, recipes and methods for production work, and work well, makes all the difference. P&R: Of the challenges you mention, could you give some details about how to manage 108 Parks & Recreation

one or two of them? For example, what’s one way of managing inventory/saving money on product orders? Holtzman: Take the time to cost out every single menu item to make sure everything is [less than] 33 percent of cost of goods. So, if a candy bar costs you 67 cents, you need to charge $2.00. P&R: What’s one solution for effective staffing? Holtzman: Posting ads that entice people to click on them. You have to stand out from the other job postings and highlight the “perks” of the job. Posting another ad with a tagline of “Now Hiring Cook” and/or “Double Shifts Required” is a turn off for potential candidates.

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P&R: What are some of the other solutions and methods attendees would learn about from this presentation? Holtzman: The biggest item is to offer some direction on what to do. Knowing how to manage the cost of labor and goods, maintain quality and drive revenue is key for park districts. One example of a new direction is that several park districts are even getting food trucks so they can take them to different venues across the city! Join Mike Holtzman, president of Profitable Food Facilities, Thursday, September 26, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in room 345/346 for his presentation on “The 10 Secrets of Concessions to Increase Cost Recovery.”

Sonia Myrick is the Executive Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine (smyrick@ nrpa.org).

YOUR IDEAS ARE WORTH SHARING Submit your education session ideas for the 2020 NRPA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.


Submit your session proposals October 28 - November 29, 2019 for the chance to speak in Orlando and win a free full-package registration to the conference.

For more information, visit nrpa.org/Proposals or contact education@nrpa.org


What’s New in Indoor Fitness Equipment By Lindsay Collins


hile exercise has always been a staple of human existence, the ways in which we conduct our workouts have evolved. Where once running, climbing and other physical activities were built into everyday tasks, we now need to carve time out of our schedules to make these happen manually. For many, this comes in the form of a visit to their local gym or recreation center. As the larger culture has changed, so has physical fitness, the areas in which we practice and the equipment we use to assist in these efforts. To keep up with these developments, we can take a moment to take stock of what’s changing and how we can be tailoring our services to these progressions.

Today, life moves at a faster pace, and individuals face increasing demands that require them to constantly manage their priorities as efficiently as possible.

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What’s Trending Today, life moves at a faster pace, and individuals face increasing demands that require them to constantly manage their priorities as efficiently as possible. It can be difficult to find time to focus on health when work, fam-

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ily and other needs are vying for our time. This cultural shift has led to a new type of exercise regimen, called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a form of cardio workout where individuals alternate between short bursts of powerful anaerobic exercise, followed by short periods of recovery. Because of the intensity of the workout, HIIT sessions usually last no more than 30 minutes and have gained traction thanks to the amount of benefit to be gained in a relatively short amount of time. If the purpose of HIIT is to make the most of a short exercise session, having the right equipment to assist is crucial. One HIIT workout contains many varying types of exercises, so the equipment used can range from something as small and simple as a jump rope to as large as a rowing machine. The best equipment for these fluctuating workout sessions are those that are versatile, providing several exercise options and benefits. For example, a popular apparatus is training ropes, which are simple and inexpensive, yet are valued for being multipurpose and highly effective. It’s not necessary to be an expert gym-goer to figure out how to climb, pull or swing a rope, and the assorted options help to provide a full-body workout for the user. Another simple, yet effective, item is a medicine ball, which can be repurposed for both strength and cardio workouts. Sandbags and kettlebells also provide similar myriad benefits for a

relatively low cost and little to no required maintenance. A lasting trend that continues to fuel the workout world is group training and for good reason. As with anything that can quickly feel like a chore, it’s much easier to get motivated when we turn work time into social hour, and in sticking to our goals, we have others to hold us accountable. One of the most popular group classes, indoor cycling, rose to popularity by combining elements of HIIT with a positive social environment. Spin class participants can adjust the equipment to best fit their needs to create the optimal workout for them, while simultaneously gaining the benefits of a shared workout experience.

They can test new equipment with guidance from staff for the assurance they are using the device properly and making the most of their workout, without being put on the spot. While cycling has proven to be a current favorite, almost any piece of gym equipment has the potential to become a sensation when paired with a motivational trainer, a solid routine and a group of friends.

The Latest Advances A good workout can make anyone feel a little bit powerful. But, did you know, you can — quite literally — generate power with your workout? A handful of fitness equipment companies have found their niche in the environ-

mental movement by modifying traditional fitness equipment with micro-inverter technology to turn calories into watts. Some gyms

A handful of fitness equipment companies have found their niche in the environmental movement by modifying traditional fitness equipment with micro-inverter technology to turn calories into watts. have fully embraced the idea by powering their gym almost entirely through eco-friendly production channels. One such gym in Rochester, New York, called Eco Gym





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alized exercise routines. Some smart equipment even goes as far as offering classes via video and virtual personal trainers to help keep users motived and on track. Though there are still concerns to be addressed, such as privacy issues related to tracking health data, the integration of technology is growing in popularity and smart equipment will become more widely used as these challenges are resolved.

Making the Most of Your Gym

(https://imaginarium.i-square. us/eco-gym), has minimized its carbon footprint by combining power-generating fitness equipment with solar and wind energy,

Smart gym equipment allows users to store their health history, track goals and create personalized exercise routines. Some smart equipment even goes as far as offering classes via video and virtual personal trainers to help keep users motived and on track. sourced from panels and turbines attached to the roof, in order to keep the lights on and the air conditioner blowing. The equipment, 112 Parks & Recreation

in most cases, is not enough by itself to power an entire gym, but it can significantly lower a gym’s overhead costs. Not to mention, in today’s eco-conscious society, it is critical to be looking for green solutions and to diminish waste, including from the energy we produce. Harnessing the energy individuals are already exerting is an innovative and growing solution for the fitness industry to make a dent in its impact on the environment. It’s also not surprising that ‘smart’ electronics have made their way into the fitness world. Everything, from our phones to our fridges, is connected to the internet — why shouldn’t our workout equipment be also? Smart gym equipment allows users to store their health history, track goals and create person-

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Contrary to popular belief, the most successful gyms are not always those with the shiniest equipment. In fact, most gym-goers prefer a space stocked with the right equipment rather than quantity or appearances. In order to determine the right equipment for your gym, knowing your audience is a must. For many recreation centers, this means serving a diverse pool of individuals with varying needs. Providing a variety of equipment options in a space that is welcoming will attract patrons more than having the newest gear on the market. Incorporating uncommon equipment that fosters unique experiences, such as rock-climbing walls and large trampolines, can also help to draw new faces into your facility. No matter how large or small your operation may be, taking the time to strategize and be intentional about the experience provided through your equipment can make or break the success of your gym. Lindsay Collins is the Associate Editor for NRPA’s Parks & Recreation magazine (lcollins@nrpa.org).

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PRODUCTS PVC Deck Flooring

Filter Cleaner Natural Chemistry PRO SERIES filter cleaner is a highly concentrated, deep-cleaning solution that removes buildup on filters caused by oils, grease, non-living organics and more. It is very effective on cartridge elements, D.E. filter grids, sand filters and regenerative media filters. PRO SERIES Filter Cleaner improves filter efficiency and lengthens cycles between filter cleanings. It is compatible with chlorine, bromine and alternative sanitizing systems. Cleans without acid! Available in 1- gallon and 5-gallon sizes. NATURAL CHEMISTRY, 800.753.1233, WWW. NATURALCHEMISTRY.COM

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RenoSys has newly improved its RecDeck™ PVC flooring, which now includes UV inhibitors and a unique composition of materials that allow it to withstand the most extreme weather climates and to be virtually unaffected by most pool and deck chemicals. This thick, reinforced PVC membrane can be used in any recreational area where slip-resistance, watertight integrity and long-term ease of maintenance are required. RecDeck™ is the ideal solution for common deck problems, including cracking, flaking, de-lamination, spalling and peeling. RecDeck™ offers an aggressive slip-resistant texture and a superior antifungal formulation, making it ideal for swimming pool decks, waterfront, marina surfaces, spray grounds or locker rooms. In addition, RecDeck™ can be installed over foam for added comfort in hydrotherapy, active-aging applications or wherever extra fall protection is required. Available in three colors. Made in the USA. RENOSYS, 800.783.7005, WWW.RENOSYS.COM

Compact Utility Tractors Designed with the operator in mind, John Deere’s 3D Series compact utility tractors, including the 3025D, 3035D and 3043D models, offer a powerful, affordable, easy-touse solution for a wide range of jobs. Equipped with a gear-drive transmission and available in three horsepower offerings, the 3D Series tractors are designed to tackle everything, from pulling and hauling to cutting and tilling. The location of the fender-mounted gear-shift lever provides superior comfort and enhanced control by avoiding the awkward movement of shifting gears between the knees. The rugged drivetrain and heavy-duty components, such as a large spiral bevel gear, provide maximum durability and increase torque and power to the ground. JOHN DEERE, 800.537.8233, WWW.JOHNDEERE.COM

Benches and Picnic Tables Paris Site Furnishings will feature Decora benches and picnic tables, with warm contemporary styling and maintenance-free design, in NRPA Booth #5219. Benches constructed of steel, pau lope or recycled plastic, in backed or backless styles, with or without arms, in 4- or 6-foot lengths (picnic tables in 6-foot lengths). Built-in anchor holes allow secure mounting to a solid surface, like concrete. These durable, stylish site furnishings provide years of trouble-free service for any indoor or outdoor environment. They are ideal for parks and recreational areas, streetscapes, green spaces, schools, universities, sports arenas and public places, transit facilities, restaurants, hotels and other hospitality industry venues or wherever durable, stylish seating is desired. PARIS SITE FURNISHINGS, 800.387.6318, WWW.PEML.COM

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Nitrogen Optimization System SiteOne Landscape Supply introduces LESCO NOS (Nitrogen Optimization System). It is the industry’s first fully incorporated DCD-stabilized nitrogen fertilizer that prevents nitrogen loss. The exclusive LESCO NOS technology slows the rate at which nitrogen is lost to environmental leaching and volatilization. Keeping nitrogen in an ammonium form longer helps plants efficiently use nitrogen when needed. Professional turf managers will optimize both nutrients and dollars by slowing the rate at which nitrogen becomes available to the turf, improving greening longevity between applications to optimize application labor and prevent call-backs. SITEONE LANDSCAPE SUPPLY, 800.748.3663, WWW.SITEONE.COM ®

Snow Pusher SnowEx® has introduced its POWER PUSHER TE snow pushers for skid-steers, wheel loaders, backhoes and tractors. Available in 8- and 10-foot-wide models with large carrying capacities, the new snow pushers feature steel trip-edges to deliver cleaner scrapes and help operators get down to the pavement. The steel trip-edges on these models use four extension springs, along with two outer double ribs at the trip springs to handle heavy-duty loads and stresses. Side-support posts help prevent bending from hitting curbs or other accidental impact. SNOWEX, 800.725.8377, WWW.SNOWEXPRODUCTS.COM

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With more than 30 years of experience, TMA’s state-of-the-art Maintenance Management Solutions have consistently delivered proven results for helping maintenance professionals improve their organizations performance and operations. Work Order Management • Preventive Maintenance Management • Facility & Asset Management •

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AmishGazebos.com Gazebos, Pergolas, & Pavilions

American Swing Products Get the most fun out of your playground Call 1-800-433-2573

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Music Play That Moves You Foster social, emotional, and cognitive development with Burke’s New PlayEnsemble™ Collection BCIBURKE.COM Trademarks are the property of BCI Burke Company. BCI Burke Company 2019. All rights reserved.

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Recycled site furnishings • park signs

Bright Idea Shops, LLC Akron, Ohio 800-886-8990 fax 330-258-0167 www.brightideashops.com www.park-signs.net

Community Recreation Management Made Easy

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The Easiest Way To Build # 4808 Visit Us at Booth , Sept. 24-26

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EQUIPMENT SOLUTIONS DESIGNED TO CREATE THE ULTIMATE PLAY SPACE. Visit us at the NRPA Conference at Booth #4210 for a demo on how to create an equipment Game Plan for your next park renovation project!


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Water Slides

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For more information, please contact your Spectrum Aquatics Team at 800.791.8056

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park essentials Matéflex delivers the best of both worlds with quick and easy installation at an affordable price. Engineered to satisfy the needs of the most demanding athletes, our flooring provides excellent traction and the comfort of superior resilience. We put our knowledge and experience to work to create a high-tech playing surface that reflects the latest innovation in modular flooring. Matéflex... the choice your sport deserves.

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NiceRink® on turf

RINKS THAT PAY FOR THEMSELVES IN TIME SAVED. Install on fields, courts, ponds and asphalt. Fill with one flood. Simple to maintain. Engineered components to reuse year after year.

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NiceRink® on a court


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Whether it’s snow removal, field and trail preparation, mowing or anything else, our wide range of powerful, versatile Massey Ferguson branded tractors can handle virtually any specification requirement!



Park Furnishings That Stand The Test of Time

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NORDOTÂŽ High Green Strength Adhesives

The ultimate adhesives for the total glue-down or seaming of synthetic turf

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“OUR NEW ATTRACTION HAS BEEN A HUGE HIT WITH OUR CUSTOMERS. The Tailspin section of the ride is amazing. The Tailspin also makes a great visual impact to all of our customers in the park, the layered effect is so unique it gets everyone excited to try the ride.” Kevin Rowland, Whirlin’ Waters Manager


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park essentials

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8/19/2019 10:04:39 AM

Lincoln Aquatics........................................................................................ 90

AllChem........................................................................................................ 95

Little Tikes Commercial ............................................................................17

American Ramp Company....................................................................... 39

Massey Ferguson/AGCO Corp. ............................................................. 123

American Swing Products......................................................................118

Matéflex...................................................................................................... 122

Amish Country Gazebos..........................................................................118

Milbank.......................................................................................................... 81

AmpliVox...................................................................................................... 89

Miracle Recreation.....................................................................................73

Anchor Audio..............................................................................................118

Most Dependable Fountains.................................................................. C2

AquaClimb................................................................................................... 89

Musco Sports Lighting............................................................................... 7

Aquatix by LSI............................................................................................ 25

National Construction Rentals..................................................... 90, 123

BCI Burke Playgrounds....................................................................... 9, 118

NetPlay USA................................................................................................ 90

Bedford Technology.................................................................................. 19

Nice Rink.................................................................................................... 122

Berliner........................................................................................................ 89

Oglebay....................................................................................................... 107

Blue Rabbit Play........................................................................................ 89

Pilot Rock/RJ Thomas Mfg. Co. ............................................................. 55

Bobcat Company......................................................................................... 11

Playcraft Systems/PlayCore.................................................................. C4

Bright Idea Shops, LLC. ...........................................................................119

Playworld.................................................................................................... 93

Cadron Creek Play......................................................................................117


California Sports Surfaces.............................................................89, 105

Polly Products........................................................................................... 123

CedarWorks................................................................................................ 90

POPP......................................................................................................... 91, 111

Cemrock........................................................................................................ 77

Rain Out.......................................................................................................101

Central Park Conservancy...................................................................... 45

Recreation Resource Management.......................................................71



Classic Recreation Systems...................................................................27

Safe Slide Restoration.............................................................................. 91

Clear Comfort............................................................................................103

Safe Soccer Goals...................................................................................... 91


Salsbury Industries.................................................................................. 53

Daktronics................................................................................................... 65

Scoremaster Goals.................................................................................. 123

Doty & Sons............................................................................................... 124

Shade Systems..............................................................................................1

DuraPlay....................................................................................................... 49

Sourcewell.................................................................................................. C3

Easi-Set Buildings....................................................................................120

Spectrum Aquatics................................................................................... 121

Eco Chemical.............................................................................................. 35

SportsMan Cloud by Peak Software..................................................... 91

ePACT Network.......................................................................................... 90

Sybertech Waste Reduction Ltd............................................................ 13

Fountain People/Water Odyssey........................................................... 15

Synthetic Surfaces.......................................................................... 124, 125

Gared Sports.............................................................................................. 121

TMA Systems..............................................................................................116

Goldenteak/The Wood Carver, Inc. .....................................................120

Toro Company............................................................................................ 29

Gopher Sport............................................................................................... 13

Uline.............................................................................................................. 33

Greenfields Outdoor Fitness............................................................... 2, 3

Ultimate RB.................................................................................................. 91

Gyms for Dogs/Livin the Dog Life......................................................... 121

Victor Stanley............................................................................................. 23

Ice-America................................................................................................ 124

Vermont Systems, Inc. ............................................................................ 21

John Deere...................................................................................................97

Waterplay Solutions..................................................................................37

Kay Park Recreation Company.............................................................. 121

Wenger.......................................................................................................... 91

Landmark Studio & Design ................................................................... 90

Whitewater West Industries................................................................125

Landscape Structures Inc.................................................................... 4, 5

Willoughby Industries............................................................................125

advertiser index

ACTIVE Network..........................................................................................43

(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 ©2019 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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Park Bench

Pop-Up Potential Between two buildings in downtown Wichita, Kansas, in a space left vacant because the previous property owner’s development plans fell through, sits the Pop-Up Park (https://tinyurl.com/y2e66zzp). Pop-up parks are usually temporary installations, but this park, which opened in 2015, seems to be one of those that may become a permanent fixture. Its creation was spearheaded by a nonprofit group, called Downtown Wichita, in response to community complaints. What once was considered an eyesore has become a community destination, complete with artwork, seating, planter beds with trees and flowers, event programming and food trucks. “One of the things that is cool about the Pop-Up Park is we are always changing things up,” says Troy Houtman, director of the City of Wichita Park and Recreation. “We have tested out a new piece of play equipment before placing [it] in a larger park. We have also placed a piano for about four months to let anyone play, and we had a beach with 5 tons of sand brought in. We have hosted many bands and artists to sell their wares.” Also, where there used to be only dirt, there is now plant life that’s home to a thriving population of butterflies and bees. Although small in size — the Pop-Up Park is roughly 6,000 square feet — these relatively low-cost, low-maintenance parks provide cities with substantial benefits, including the formation of community-gathering spaces and opportunities for citizens to connect with nature. A recent study by the People, Nature, Place research program at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University’s Centre for Urban Research (https://tinyurl.com/ yxu5hzh2) finds that even small, impermanent green spaces contribute positively to urban biodiversity, supporting the health of humans as well as of urban wildlife. Many factors — size, location, duration and number and type of features included — can impact the specific social and ecological benefits of pop-up parks. However, they can be a beneficial addition to urban communities in need of more green space. — Lindsay Collins, Associate Editor for Parks & Recreation magazine 128 Parks & Recreation

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