Posted on November 21, 2013 by Kathy Blaha
This year the City Parks Alliance was one of the hosts to the International Downtown Association’s World Congress in New York. The theme, “People/Places/Partnerships,” focused on how leaders across the globe are transforming buildings, places and streets through design, redevelopment, place management and distinctive programming. City Parks Alliance added a focus on downtown parks by organizing tours.
I’ve talked about downtown associations before – and business improvement districts (BIDs) – and their increasing willingness to take on parks to help enliven and beautify downtowns. BIDs exist in almost every one of the top 50 largest cities in the United States. BIDs, mostly financed by taxes on property owners in a given district, are increasingly including public spaces and parks in their mission.
Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) is no different. It has been in existence since 1953 and in the late 1990s, the leadership formed a BID to help them carry out their mission. With six hundred residential and business members they include parks in their mission. “We care about the parks because our policy and advocacy agenda focuses on the health and vitality of public spaces – parks, plazas and sidewalks,” says Jon Scholes, DSA’s Vice President for Advocacy and Economic Development. (more…)
Filed under: maintenance/management, partnerships, programming | Tagged: BIDs, Kathy Blaha, public-private partnerships, seattle | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 4, 2013 by Kathy Blaha
Almost every city in America has a public-private partnership around one or more of its parks. Everyone is doing it, and everyone is asking the same questions about the best way to develop and manage them. It is a tough topic to wrap your head around since every partnership is a slightly different riff on the one they learned from. But the key question appears to be, what does the right agreement look like that keeps public space public?
Seattle is taking a big picture view of where and how they want to use partnerships and working hard on finding the best way to keep public space for the public. “Our approach is going to look different in different parts of the city,” says Christopher Williams, Acting Superintendent for Seattle Parks and Recreation. “For example, in the downtown core Friends of the Central Waterfront are working with us in a guiding position for how the waterfront gets redeveloped.”
Filed under: funding, partnerships, planning, renewal | Tagged: Kathy Blaha, public-private partnerships, seattle | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 23, 2013 by Kathy Blaha
This month’s Parks and Recreation magazine features an article on the challenges of public private partnerships. Acknowledging the benefits of a helping hand from the private sector, the article also points out problems with equity issues and the potential for a drop in public funding when private funding is successful.
Although New York and other east coast cities have over 20 years of experience with park conservancies and private partners, western cities, like Seattle, have been slower to embrace the partnership model. Seattle has one of the largest and best funded park systems in the nation and is known as a model for sustainable development. It spends over $250 per resident on its parks – above the median – and Trust for Public Land regularly ranks it as one of the top ten systems in the country. And yet, as Seattle Parks and Recreation faces its own budget challenges it has begun to explore where public-private partnerships can help – and how maybe they can take advantage of some of the lessons learned back east. (more…)
Filed under: maintenance/management, partnerships | Tagged: Kathy Blaha, P3s, public-private partnerships | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 17, 2013 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.
Covering more than 520 miles of the Salt River Valley in central Arizona, Phoenix is the most populous state capital in the United States and the sixth most populous city overall, and it continues to grow. Projections show the regional population is expected to grow nearly 60% by 2030, bringing the total to more than 6 million people. While the city manages nearly 5,000 acres of developed land in more than 190 parks, the relative lack of density creates a high demand for more walkable neighborhood parks.
Filed under: green infrastructure, partnerships, planning | Tagged: Arizona, Dust Devil Park, Frontline Parks, Phoenix | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 26, 2013 by Kathy Blaha
I’ve talked a lot in this blog about private public partnerships (P3s) where a public agency owns the land and a private partner collaborates on design, development, management or programming. But what about when a private partner owns land for a public park? The next few blog posts will focus on places in the country where private leaders are instrumental in developing and running public parks – on private land. In Louisville, 21st Century Parks (21C) is completing one of the largest new parks in the country – over 4,000 acres – that will be owned and managed by a private nonprofit, working in partnership with Louisville Metro Parks.
The Parklands is a donor-supported 4,000-acre park system consisting of four major parks — linked by a park drive. The park is the vision and work of a group of private leaders and visionaries who wanted to complete the system envisioned by Olmsted’s 1891 design. Almost all of the land for the park has been privately acquired and put under easement – with 21C developing and managing the park for public use.
I talked with Dan Jones recently about the unique partnership in Louisville with private leadership driving the new park. Jones is the CEO of 21st Century Parks, the private nonprofit that owns and oversees The Parklands. He and his father, David A. Jones, the co-founder of Humana, have been working on the project for nearly a decade. Together, they have secured more than $120 million of private and public funding to fully fund their vision for a new park system.
Filed under: economics, funding, maintenance/management, partnerships, planning | Tagged: 21st Century Parks, Kathy Blaha, Louisville KY, public-private partnerships, The Parklands | 1 Comment »