By: Michael Davies
Issue: Parks and Recreation agencies have witnessed a decline in revenue, maintenance and staffing, according to the Verde River Institute who prepared a summary of Economic issues affecting parks and recreation for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) (1). Parks and Recreation have become increasingly dependent on external funding for recreational programs and services for its residents (1). The NRPA is a non-profit organization, to ensure that all citizens of the U.S. have access to public parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity (2).
Present: Reported by the National Recreation and Park Association, President Trump proposed a $3.7 billion budget cut to the U.S. Department of Education in 2017, which is threatening local park and recreation agencies (2). The NRPA is also concerned by the cuts brought up by the President because they threaten many environmental and community programs that its organization supports (2). Due to recent budget cuts, cities are now considering to charge for the use of public spaces, reported by CityLab.com (3). “Most everyone agrees recreation services justify a fee. Where it gets gray, is charging for access to public parks and spaces,” said the chief public officer of the NRPA (3).
Brief History: Parks and recreational facilities contribute up to $730 billion each year to the U.S. economy and support 6.5 million jobs, according to a report by the NRPA (5). “Nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population lives in a metropolitan area,” said the NRPA. According to the association, public parks and recreation play an essential role in urban areas. The recreational areas offer jobs to local communities, attract business investments, tourism, and impacts public health, said the NRPA (5).
Differing Viewpoints: There are liberals and local citizens who want to protect their public parks and recreation. They are willing to vote against Congress and take action according to the NRPA (6). On the other hand, reported by the NRPA, there are conservatives and citizens who want to put the potential budget cuts into President Trump’s idea of a $54 billion increase in defense and rebuilding the Nation’s military.