A Time for Celebration

December 6, 2017, Department, by Gina Mullins-Cohen

Gina Mullins Cohen Scarf 410

It’s the time of the year when communities around the world are in a festive, celebratory mood. From decked out neighborhoods and city streets, to parks aglow with holiday lights, there are plenty of opportunities for people to come together to ring out the old and ring in the new year.

When it comes to community celebration, music, particularly outdoor music, is a great harmonizer. In “Urban Music Festivals, Considered,” this month’s cover story on page 56, author Eric Tamulonis looks at the spectacle behind the popularity of music festivals and the pros and cons of producing concerts in a park setting. He addresses the security risks involved with music festivals, but points out that park and rec agencies shouldn’t be deterred from hosting such events: “…it is a tribute to the ideals of our society that we continue to define major urban gatherings as a public good, one that is worthy of protection to prevent harm,” he writes.

Communities coming together to celebrate the outdoors and being connected should be the norm rather than the exception. And, in “Open Streets: ICT Brings Wichitans Together!” on page 64, Troy Houtman of the City of Wichita, Park and Recreation Department, shares how his community has embraced Open Streets, a growing movement across the United States that entails closing a city street to vehicular traffic and paving the way for bicyclists, walkers, runners and other culture-related activities.

Grand openings are another time for celebration, and our annual conference a few months ago in New Orleans began on a celebratory note with the opening of Lemann Park, the 2017 Parks Build Community project, along a portion of the Lafitte Greenway. Learn more about that project and its opening in Paula Jacoby-Garrett’s article on page 68.

Finally, in “The 10-Minute Walk Campaign,” on page 61, Parks & Recreation Executive Editor Sonia Myrick goes one-on-one with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) President and CEO Will Rogers. During this exclusive interview, Rogers discusses how the partnership between TPL, the Urban Land Institute and NRPA formed, as well as the rationale behind the 10-minute walk campaign. According to Rogers, “This campaign is based on two key concepts that are directly connected — park access and park quality.”

It’s been an exciting year for NRPA and Parks & Recreation  magazine. Our goal with each issue is to address the topics that matter most to you and your park and rec agency, so we welcome your feedback and suggestions for articles. We wish you and your family a joyous holiday season and a very successful 2018!