Notable News

February 1, 2016, Department, by NRPA

- Following a 12-year, community-led effort brokered by The Vital Ground Foundation, a nonprofit land trust based in Missoula, Montana, the land surrounding the shoreline of Alvord Lake, north of Troy, will be protected from development, due in part to the recently reauthorized Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Vital Ground Foundation purchased a 142-acre forested parcel on the east shore of the lake, in Lincoln County, just two miles north of Troy. The $1.15 million project was anchored by a $400,000 U.S. Forest Service Community Forest and Open Spaces Program grant, and was complemented by a substantial donation from the Friends of Alvord Lake. 

- Research from Salud America!, a national network for Latino childhood obesity prevention funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and based at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, shows that Latinos lack access to spaces necessary to be physically active. One suggested solution is for local governments to include sustainable funding for park maintenance, repairs and improvements, as well as look for ways to fund infrastructure maintenance and programming.

- Effective January 11, Dion Louthan became director of the Parks, Recreation and Libraries Department for the city of Roseville, California. Louthan has more than 20 years’ experience, most recently as parks and recreation director for the city of Salina, Kansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation and leisure facilities management from the University of Kansas. 

- The Produce for People program, part of Portland Parks and Recreation Community Gardens, donated more than 42,000 pounds of food to local hunger relief agencies. The 42,000 pounds of food is organic and locally grown in 42 of the 50 Portland Community Garden sites. 

- This year, thanks to Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, residents of the nation’s capital will be able to exercise at city-run fitness centers for free. Back in December, the mayor announced that fees at city-run fitness centers will be eliminated for 2016 and beyond. Jordan Bennett, a spokesperson for the mayor, said she is doing so “…to make sure that everyone, regardless of financial status, has an opportunity and access to get fit and healthy.” 

- A proposal has been submitted to turn 40 blocks of Broadway, in the middle of Manhattan, into green space. While earlier projects (the High Line and the Low Line) focused on transforming unused infrastructure, designers of this new park — to be called the Green Line — argue that it not only could bring new business to the neighborhoods nearby and help raise property values, but could also double as green infrastructure: bioswales, special plantings designed to suck up stormwater, could help absorb rain and snow and keep it out of the city’s overloaded sewer system and from dripping into the subway system below. 

- January 22  marked the official end to the almost four decades-long career of the Portland, Oregon, Director of Parks and Recreation, Mary Scheurer. Along with her duties as director, Scheurer, who joined the city staff in November 1978, has been responsible for the tree management program and day-to-day operations in the city’s cemetery. Her accomplishments include bringing the 41-acre River Walk to the city. For Scheurer, and avid outdoors woman, this next chapter of her life will include undertaking some renovations to the house and the barn that her great grandfather built on a farm she recently purchased and doing some more of her favorite pastime, hunting. Scheurer graduated from Portland High School and went on to further her education at Michigan State University.