Posted by: ginalismgateway | January 22, 2010

Facts and Thoughts about Govenrnment’s Spending on Parks and Outdoor Recreation

Written by Gina Lee

Photo by Forbes

Despite the notorious pouring that starts from late fall and continues through early spring, cities in the Pacific Northwest region always ranks high in “best city for outdoor activity,” or “best cities for bicycling.” According to Forbes’ 2009 research on “Best Cities for the Outdoors,” Portland, Ore ranked 14th and Seattle, Wash ranked in 10th. The research compared 40 of the largest cities in the U.S. and included data such as spending per resident, park land as a percentage of city land, number of recreation facilities, various weather conditions and air quality. When you look into the data, you will not be surprised by the result. Seattle spent $242 per resident which is the second biggest largest followed by San Francisco that spent $253and was chosen as the best city.

Oregon decided to “dedicate $215,223,557 which is 7.5 percent of net Lottery proceeds to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.” The state had to increase their budget on Oregon Parks and Recreation Department mainly because of an increase of park operation and maintenance. That’s also one of the reasons they raised Oregon state park entrance fee, the first in 13 years. Besides, Oregon puts efforts on creating new open spaces for the public as well. Portland opened a new park in the downtown area and 2 million out of 9.5 million, which was used for construction, was donated by Jordan Schnitzer. Eugene decided to redesign Washington-Jefferson Park and build a new skate park there. City of Eugene Parks and Open Space website stated briefly about the project and the project will need $450,000 or more to design and build the new park. The city started $250,000 fundraising for the skate park.

There are people who argue about government’s plan and investment in public spaces such as parks and skate parks rather than cutting the fund in this economic down turn. Also there are people who doubt about benefits that are expected from public spaces. Recently, parks are turning into a place that people fear to go to because of people who are drunken, drugged or out-of–control. Study of “Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park” says that Wayside State Park, one of the Oregon State parks, was once closed because of increasing criminal activity. Moreover, the study found out crimes occur more frequently from May 15th to September 15th when people actually go outside and enjoy outdoors. Thus, government should pay more attention to make people feel safer of being out in public places, or creating more public spaces is a waste of tax money.

1.Rebecca Ruiz Forbes “Best Cities For The Outdoors”

http://www.forbes.com/2009/05/11/best-cities-outdoors-lifestyle-health-outdoors_slide_8.html?thisSpeed=undefined

2.Brian Fiske Bicycling.com “Best Cities For Cycling: Still The Greatest -These five cities remain America’s top places for cycling”

http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s-2-18-17077-1,00.html

3.Oregon 2009-11 Governor’s Recommended Budget

http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/BAM/GRB0911intro.shtml

4.Oregon state park fees go up in 2010, first increase in 13 years

http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2009/12/oregon_state_park_fees_go_up_i.html

5.Skatepark plan posted on Eugene city’s website.

http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=217&PageID=3851&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2

6.Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park

http://www.waurisa.org/conferences/2008/presentations/DTA_wed_Walker.pdf

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