Open Space

Briefly Noted

A look at park and recreation updates from around the nation.

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NRPA’S Online Community Forums Address Best Practices in Therapeutic Recreation

NRPA Connect members share their successes with therapeutic recreation for returning veterans. 

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The State of Fitness

An annual review of fitness participation in America shows numbers that may explain some trends in parks and recreation.

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Focus on Abilities

In Chattanooga, two staff make a difference for thousands with disabilities.

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A Most Philosophical Approach

Idris Al-Oboudi, recreation services manager for Manhattan Beach, California, looks at the greater meaning of parks and recreation from a unique philosophical perspective.

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Eureka Teens Find Their Center

With G.U.L.C.H., a California agency reaches its toughest market. 

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The Life Aquatic

 Prince George's County, Maryland's Department of Parks and Recreation uses exciting aquatic facilities and engaging programs to promote swimming competence and safety among its minority-majority population.

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NRPA’S Online Community Forums Address Relations with City Hall

NRPA Connect members share their insight on maintaining effective community relations with city hall.

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Pack Your Tennis Courts with Players and Programs

Parks departments can team up with Community Tennis Associations to fill their tennis courts.

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Parks Paradigm Shift

Community engagement key to new mountain bike trail

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Briefly Noted

A look at park and recreation updates from around the nation.

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Coaches Curing Kids' Cancer

Baseball coaches team up to support pediatric cancer research.

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Wildlife-Related Recreation

A recent report by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service shows a promising uptick in wildlife-related recreation.

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L.A. Parks Gang Up for Kids

Los Angeles park staff engage kids from conflicting neighborhoods and make a measurable impact on reducing gang activity among participants.

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Financial Sustainability and the New Normal

The realities of the post-recession era need not mean doing less with less.

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More Sites for SITES

Sustainable Sites Initiative pilot program expands to more parks

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Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

Woonsocket, Rhode Island's new recreation director pulled off several exciting programs with zero budget for programming.

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Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab

Asheville, North Carolina's Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts Department brings arts and more to the public with a traveling arts mobile.

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Hunger—No Games

A look at the correlation between hunger, poverty, obesity, dependence on food assistance, and the role played by park and recreation agencies

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A Legacy for the Ages

Adrian Benepe leaves New York City Parks and Recreation larger and better.

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Grand History Trail—York County, Pennsylvania

The concept of the Grand History Trail, a long-distance trail linking significant historic locations in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, was conceived by Don Gogniat, former vice-chair of the York County Rail Trail Authority.  While not a “done deal” yet, the trail planning has gained national organizational supporters and significant regional and local support. 

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Conscious Choices

The value of education as a leisure component

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A Case Study of Playground Accessibility

The universal attractiveness of universally accessible play environments

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Statistics of Play

A look at the development of play and its effects in America

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Gold Rush

 As the 2012 London Olympic Games begin, an untold number of the 529 U.S. athletes learned their sport in public and military recreation programs. Some past, future, and current Olympic athletes with roots in public recreation programs reflect on their journeys and how public and military recreation has helped guide their careers.

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A Visionary Honored

The City of Portland, Oregon, honors former Director of Parks and Recreation Charles Jordan with a community center bearing his legacy both in name and existence.

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The Long Slog

Economic curveballs have affected everyone in the past few years, and parks and recreation agencies certainly aren't immune. Fortunately, the light at the end of the tunnel may be closer than you realize.

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Chicago Beaches Go High Tech

Water quality prediction system speeds beach information  

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Aiken, South Carolina

The parks, recreation, and tourism department in this southern gem of a town provides its citizens with world-class performing arts as well as more traditional activities.

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Roswell, Georgia

An Atlanta suburb's park facilities once hosted international teams during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and they continue to keep the Olympic gold dream alive for many local residents.

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Nuturing Youth

Establishing a community garden takes minimal resources but provides ample opportunities for kids to grow and interact with diverse cultures within the community.

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Briefly Noted

Soldier Field becomes LEED certified, National Public Lands Day is September 29, National Association of Recreation Resources Planners awards, and the Trust for Public Land's new ParkScore ranking system for cities.

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Urban Skiing

Bring ski and snowboarding fun to your urban park by building a snow park.

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More than Horsing Around

New research looks into the motivations and conflicts for horseback riders in Minnesota, and explores the often overlooked health and tourism benefits of this recreational activity.

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Five Trends Shaping Tomorrow Today

The latest U.S. Census report reveals five major population trends that will dramatically affect park and recreation agencies and the services they provide.

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Darell Hammond

Darell Hammond, the founder of KaBOOM!, offers insight into revitalizing community parks and building community involvement through new playgrounds.

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The Walkable City

Statistics reveal that residents in walkable neighborhoods in Toronto use their car less often and have lower BMIs than those in less walkable neighborhoods.

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Turning Quarries into Parks

Quarries are everywhere. The construction industry’s insatiable need for sand, gravel and stone for roads, buildings and landscaping keeps the extraction industry constantly digging holes in the ground and taking huge bites out of hillsides from coast to coast. In recent years, parks and recreation agencies and municipalities have been discovering these often hidden resources and turning them into popular--and economically vibrant--recreation facilities.

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Public Support May Save Some California State Parks

The saga of California’s troubled state park system will reach a sad milestone on June 30 2012, when the California Department of Parks and Recreation will close a significant proportion of the 70 state parks on its closure list. There is some good news, though: Led by the California State Parks Foundation and with support of a host of local, regional, and state non-profit groups, many organizations, businesses, and individual donors have stepped up to offer funding, volunteer support, and sweat equity to save the parks.

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Sprite Spark Parks

The mission of Sprite's "Spark Parks" program, in the words of Coca-Cola North America vice president Michael Matthews, is “to refresh neighborhood basketball courts.” And Birmingham, Alabama's public courts were sorely in need of refreshment. The program invited agencies from areas geographically selected by Sprite to identify and submit a park with courts needing renovation. “So, we went around with staff to several locations to see which courts were most in need of repair," Birmingham Parks & Rec's Stanley Robinson says. "Believe me,” he chuckles, “we didn’t have to drive too far.”

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Counting Slowly

National economic numbers tell the story of a slow but steady recovery.

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Stephen Fuller Interview

Economist Stephen Fuller discusses what this slow but steady climb out of economic recession means for parks and recreation professionals.

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Janet Clarke

A local elected official in Loudoun County, Virginia, pushes competing park supporters to find common ground.

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Briefly Noted

News, milestones, publications, and awards relevant to the parks and recreation field.

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Richard Florida

Richard Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, is a long-time observer of public spaces--and he writes about the factors that cause people to love where they live. In our shift from an industrial- to a knowledge-based economy, he contends, abundant, walkable, “serendipitous” public spaces have come to represent the new gold standard of community attractiveness. “A park is not a frivolity.”

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The New Normal How the City of Clearwater Develops Public Private Partnerships

The New Normal. Paradigm Shift. These two phrases are now essential everyday language, but what do they mean--economically speaking--to parks and recreation? Felicia Leonard, Administrative Support Manager in Clearwater, Florida, explains the paradigm shift that has transformed the city from a recreation service provider to a service facilitator for specific programs

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Ace High in Houston

Launched more than three years ago, Reading Aces is a nonprofit after-school literacy program founded by a high school student. Brette Machiorlette and her team of high school volunteers visit various Houston-area parks and recreation centers loaded with picture books and snacks. These teen volunteers work shoulder-to-shoulder with elementary students and help foster a love of books through the magic of oral reading.  

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California Forever

When they read about a proposal in the middle of the last decade to build a six-lane toll road through San Onofre State Park in Orange County, California, documentary filmmakers David Vassar and Sally Kaplan set out to produce a film showcasing “the priceless legacy that state parks protect and to celebrate the individual citizens who worked so hard to preserve them.”

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