Posted on March 20, 2015 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its partnerships and community capacity building, Max Brandon Park has been named a Frontline Park.
As the city of Flint declined in the 1980s, the 1,800 acres of parkland owned by the city also fell into disrepair. Max Brandon Park is situated between several extremely economically distressed neighborhoods with a large percentage of residents under the age of 18, but because of the severe lack of resources, there was almost no programming in the park, and no neighborhood community group to take on the challenge of stewardship. Trails and playground equipment went unmaintained, and vegetation grew out of control.
Filed under: economics, partnerships, programming | Tagged: Capacity building, Flint, Frontline Parks, Max Brandon Park, Michigan | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 27, 2015 by Kathy Blaha
Susan Rademacher, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Curator, has written a new book on Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square, its history and its recent rehabilitation by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy which, at first glance, is a paean to great landscape design. It is a jewel of an example of how a small public space when designed right can have a huge impact on a downtown or in this case, an entire city and over time.
Mellon Square: Discovering a Modern Masterpiece, the second in a series by the Cultural Landscape Foundation (Princeton Architectural Press, $24.95), traces the Square from its original design and construction in 1955 through its evolution as a public space that manages to stay relevant and foundational for over 50 years in a city that suffered its share of economic ups and downs. Continue reading
Filed under: economics, funding, partnerships, planning, renewal | Tagged: Kathy Blaha, Mellon Square, pittsburgh, Susan Rademacher | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 12, 2015 by Kathy Blaha
Last month the City Parks Alliance (CPA) held a pilot workshop in a concerted effort to develop a teaching strategy for helping park professionals learn and understand partnerships and collaboration. More than twenty participants attended the day-long event held at Augustus Hawkins Natural Park in Los Angeles, supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and hosted by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.
(L to R): Jackie Carrera, Gordon Robertson, and Dale Larsen
I had the privilege of facilitating the discussion and was supported by City Parks Alliance staffers, Executive Director Catherine Nagel and Outreach & Program Manager Angie Horn, as well as a team of three experienced urban park professionals: Jackie Carrera, a recent transplant to Los Angeles after 21 years as CEO for Parks and People in Baltimore; Gordon Robertson, Director of Planning and Design for Denver Parks and Recreation; and Dale Larsen, Professor of Practice & Honors Faculty at Arizona State University and former Director of Parks & Recreation in Phoenix. Collectively they represented more than 100 years of experience in city park partnerships!
We structured an agenda based on surveying park partners in California to find out what they wanted to learn. Response to the survey centered on four ideas for shaping an agenda:
- Understanding the need for partnership; why and how partners should work together
- Getting started by scoping out responsibilities and structuring agreements
- Working together day to day, communicating, team-building, and establishing trust
- Building a culture of collaboration and shared vision for the long run
And so for the day-long session we shaped our workshop around these four areas. The small size of the group meant that we could use our time for discussion, storytelling, and sharing successes and failures. The experts in the room shared lessons and reflected on their experiences with public and private partners. Continue reading
Filed under: funding, maintenance/management, partnerships, programming | Tagged: California, governance, Greater & Greener, Kathy Blaha, los angeles, P3s, public-private partnerships, urban parks conference | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2014 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its innovative practices in partnerships and volunteer engagement, Priest Point Park has been named a Frontline Park.
Priest Point is a park built by volunteers. When the park was constructed, the city did not have the staff necessary to complete construction, and relied heavily on community members who donated their time and labor. Volunteers cleared the landscape, restored historic structures, installed landscaping features, and cleared trails throughout the park. At 314 acres and more than a century old, Priest Point is both the city’s largest and oldest park, and still relies heavily on volunteer engagement for general maintenance. This history of volunteerism in Olympia provided the basis for a culture of stewardship that has since grown to encompass all of the urban parks and forests in the city. Continue reading
Filed under: partnerships, programming | Tagged: Frontline Parks, Olympia, Priest Point Park, Washington | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 25, 2014 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its innovative practices in community engagement and fundraising, Railroad Park has been named a Frontline Park.
“We’re proud when Railroad Park earns recognition because it shows that outside groups see what our frequent visitors see. City Parks Alliance studies urban parks across the continent. They track parks’ impact on surrounding communities, and they highlight green spaces that revitalize and contribute significantly to their cities,” said Jim Emison, President of the Railroad Park Foundation Board of Directors. “That’s Railroad Park Foundation’s mission for Birmingham, and it’s wonderful to be recognized for those results. Parks in New York and Toronto and Chicago and Los Angeles have received this distinction in the past, as has Birmingham’s own Red Mountain Park. We’re proud to be in the company of such visionary park leadership that actively works to improve communities.” Continue reading
Filed under: green infrastructure, health, maintenance/management, partnerships, planning, programming, renewal, transportation | Tagged: Birmingham, Frontline Parks, Railroad Park | Leave a comment »