Notable News

October 1, 2016, Department, by NRPA

-     The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority (PARA) in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health is offering a WiseWoman program in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease among area women. WiseWoman, an extension of the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, provides lifestyle programs and referral services for low-income, underinsured or uninsured women with a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Women who sign up for this program receive a value membership with PARA that provides them with access to fitness classes at four PARA activity centers, along with discounts for leisure and aquatic classes. A state-funded grant of $5,000 from the Alabama Department of Public Health pays for the memberships provided through WiseWoman — currently 25 women are signed up for the program.


-       Children in the Dilworth Park community of Corpus Christi, Florida, have been asked to submit their designs for their very own, brand new playground, which is schedule to be built by volunteers on November 5. This project is a collaboration of several organizations: Kaboom, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Beautify Corpus Christi and Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation. The playground at Dr. HD Dilworth Park will be the 28th playground built by Kaboom and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

-       For the first time in 31 years, Los Angeles City developers will now have to pay higher fees that are then used to pay for parks and open spaces in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods. On September 7, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to increase the fees, which could add $30 million per year (prior to the increase, the fees added $22 million) to the city’s parks and park improvement program. The fees, known as Quimby fees, were put in place in 1971 and are paid for by residential developments. ParkScore ranks L.A. at No. 65 of the 100 largest U.S. cities when it comes to parks. According to L.A. Neighborhood Land Trust Executive Director Alina Bokde, this increase will help the city’s park system to move up in the rankings. 


-       New York’s Upper West Side will soon boast a completely redesigned, all-inclusive Bloomingdale Playground that will allow kids in wheelchairs to play alongside those with various physical and mental abilities. The final design, presented by the New York City Parks Department in collaboration with area residents, students and teachers at the schools adjoining the playground, was approved by Community Board 7, September 6. The playground, located on Amsterdam Avenue between West 104th and 105th streets, has an estimated cost of $5.8 million and will feature play equipment that can accommodate a wheelchair user and a typically abled child simultaneously.

-       Under legislation introduced by Pittsburgh’s City Council on September 7, the city, for the first time, would permit limited, overnight camping in city parks. Currently, city parks close at dusk and violators are subject to arrest. Under this new legislation, Parks and Recreation Director, Jim Griffin, is required to develop strict regulations and approve each camping request. Griffin, who admits the legislation could encourage people, including the homeless, to camp illegally in city parks, thinks that with the risks can be mitigated with the proper policies and procedures in place to protect the parks and public. He foresees only a few events a year that would fall under this legislation and that camping would be limited to groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, participants in city summer camp programs and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. 


-       City officials in Worcester, Massachusetts, are exploring the feasibility of creating a “sanctioned site” for a homeless camp in an attempt to contain and reduce the number of such encampments throughout the city. The site, which would contain toilet and shower facilities, would also make it easier to deliver much-needed medical and social services to Worcester’s homeless. The city’s Quality of Life Task Force has identified 80 homeless encampments and 87 unique homeless individuals. Worcester’s City Council’s Public Health and Human Services Committee has requested that the city manager provide it with a detailed report about what exactly is a “sanctioned site” and what it would take to have one in the city. 


-       The beautifully manicured lawns and flowers of Torrington, Connecticut’s Coe Park are featured in a song, written by Torrington-based singer/songwriter Delaney Morgan, for a national song competition put on by The Guitar Center. To win the $25,000 purse and a chance to be on the Jimmy Kimmel Show, among other incredible prizes, competitors are required to submit a video for their song. Morgan’s song, “Walk in the Park,” is about “a boy who is mesmerized by the green grass and beautiful skies of a park, encircled by cars and city life. It expressed the longing for love and an old-fashioned stroll through a city park….” Morgan sings his song while strumming his acoustic guitar in the short video, shot entirely in Coe Park. In order to garner enough points to become a finalist — 10 will be selected to compete for the big prize — he has posted the video on the Torrington Downtown Partners website and needs people to vote for his song. Click here to check out Morgan’s original work.