Let’s Talk About Money

February 1, 2015, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins-Cohen, NRPA's vice president of marketing, communications and publishing, and editorial director.When you think of getting a loan, I bet you think of a bank. This is where people seeking money upfront to buy a home or car usually go. It’s true for CFOs and business owners anticipating expansion of their firm or even to make ends meet during tough economic times, and it is also the case for park directors. Going to a bank has a definite upside. A local bank can generate support within the community, and depending on the relationship one has with the bank, financial terms may be agreeable.

However, let’s take a step back for a moment and consider all of the options, because yes, there are other options. In this issue of Parks & Recreation magazine, our cover feature, “Tomorrow’s Park at Today’s Price,” by Director of the Land Conservation Loan Program at The Conservation Fund Reggie Hall,  brings to light the benefits of working with nontraditional lenders. Whether you look at securing your funds through a traditional institution, an individual supporter or a conservation lender, this article will walk you through the steps necessary to make the best choice for your park agency.

Often those hard-earned funds are earmarked for facility upgrades, additions and equipment, including playgrounds. In this month’s Operations column, Associate Editor Samantha Bartram outlines some points to consider when planning a themed playground. In “Let Your Imagination Run Wild,” on page 60, Bartram talks with leading manufacturers of themed playground equipment to determine how best to select a theme, plan  your equipment acquisition and, ideally, form an even stronger connection with the communities you serve.  

Our Social Equity column on page 40, by Ken Koonce, speaks to the lack of diversity in the field of parks and recreation professionals. Koonce, a recent retiree from the post of recreation coordinator/supervisor at North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department, speaks firsthand about the slowly changing culture of the park and recreation industry and focuses on a range of topics from salaries to nepotism that often stifle much-needed progress in this area.

It is apparent this year more than ever, as NRPA celebrates its 50th anniversary, that many agencies are ready to embrace growth opportunities, whether in staffing or physical expansion of facilities. Perhaps this is the time to choose the road less traveled as we look ahead to where the next 50 years will take us.

Gina Mullins-Cohen is NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director.