September 1, 2014, Department, by National Recreation and Park Association

Let us know what you think about what you read each month in Parks & Recreation Magazine!We hope the articles you read in Parks & Recreation are thought-provoking and engaging, and we want to hear your opinions on what you read in these pages. Through social media posts, website comments, emails to staff or posts on Connect, let us know how the magazine’s articles apply to your job and your agency.

Dear Parks & Recreation Magazine,
I found a very old copy of your magazine (December 1998) and am interested in a subscription but don’t know if the prices have changed over the last 14 years (!). I’m enclosing a subscription card, but will you bill me with the updated fees?
I had a summer job (1998) with my city’s park and recreation department. I love being outdoors and having fun, but mowing all the medians in town was too much work. I got a hernia from pushing commercial mowers, so I got put on watering duty. 
However, my sister and I would like to get into the tourism industry. We’re thinking of doing something centering around Native cultures, storytelling around fires and a kind of dude-ranch thing with more of a Native American twist. We’re looking for ideas and advice. 
Handwritten letter from Sylvia Dailey of Farmington, New Mexico. The included card Dailey mentions, harvested from our December 1998 issue, lists a one-year subscription to Parks & Recreation Magazine (12 issues) as costing $28 per year. Those living overseas would have to pony up $34 for a one-year subscription. 
The success of the park conservancies is NOT the reason why in North America most cities seem to have a two-tier park system. It’s the political incompetence that uses such success to say that parks should be a private-sector issue. It’s PUBLIC parks and it’s a public issue. If a city like New York City decreases its parks funding from 1.5 percent of the budget to 0.5 percent, obviously parks fully funded by taxes are going to suffer significantly. Governments have to realize that the success of Central Park, more than the funding, has been great management that provides multiple uses and activities for all. Such management is replicable — all parks should have great management — the private funding is not. Central Park is the only one that has the wealthiest people of the world living around it, and politicians should not use it as an example for parks funding. If the new mayor of New York City does want to improve parks, the challenge is to bring back the funding to 1.5 percent of the city budget, in addition to making operations more efficient and increasing citizen engagement to make sure all improvements are maintained over multiple administrations. 
Comment on Equity in the Big Apple by Gil Penalosa, executive director at 8-80 Cities in Toronto, Canada. The nonprofit organization works locally and internationally to promote urban parks, trails and other public spaces, as well as activities like walking and bicycling
I like your article and I know that you are concerned. I am a retired (very old) full-time recreation person from the Miami, Florida, area. I live somewhat north of that area now. Your statement, “We are the ones who will watch the children and create the safe, open spaces where they play,” sounds good, but is a thing of the past in most areas. Why? Because of “inflation.” Cities and counties just cannot afford to provide the necessary recreation personnel to provide the proper programs and leadership that was accomplished back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Back then, we had one or two full-time recreation personnel and some part-time leaders on most every park. As you probably know, when budget time comes, the FIRST agency that gets the cuts is recreation. But we are LAST in one thing: getting new facilities. That is just the way it is. However, where I live now we have the best park and recreation director that I have ever been around. He does the most with what he gets. 
Comment on Associate Editor Samantha Bartram’s blog post, “Your Park is Your Family” by Edwin Delaney, vice president of Martin County Golf and Country Club and an at-large advisory board member for Martin County Parks and Recreation in Stuart, Florida