Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Fairmount Park at risk without changes, plan says: "Posted on Tue, Jun. 29, 2004

Fairmount Park at risk without changes, plan says

By Stephan Salisbury

A sweeping plan to reorganize and energize Fairmount Park was to be unveiled later today at a press conference held at the Fairmount Waterworks on the banks of the Schuykill.
The strategic plan, the park's first comprehensive planning document since 1984, was prepared by Leon Younger and PROS, a well-known Indianapolis consulting firm, and has been in the works for 18 months.
The plan states that Fairmount Park with its 9,200 acres and 77 primary parks 'makes Philadelphia unique.'
But 'the grandeur of Fairmount Park is at risk if change does not happen,' the report states bluntly.
Key changes the report recommends include:
- Realigning responsibilities of the park and the Department of Recreation, with the park focusing on 'passive, self-directed recreation' and the department emphasizing programmed activities.
- Focusing the Fairmount Park Commission on policy matters and creating a recreation coordination Board to address delivery of programs and services.
- Beefing up the Fairmount Park Conservancy, an independent nonprofit aimed at raising funds for the park.
- Establishing a revenue division to focus on earned income and effective management.
- Improving the monitoring of contracts and ensuring compliance, particularly with regard to park concession operations and golf.
- Marketing the park, which the report said is seen 'as the premier asset of Philadelphia by its citizens.'
While some of the recommendations can be implemented with little or no cost, many will require extensive funding - money that the park does not have"