According to the National Recreation & Park Association, nearly all local government officials believe that parks and recreational programming are essential to their communities. Funding parks can increase safety, improve economic development and public health, support schools and can also help increase revenues. But strained resources often end up leaving these departments with reduced budgets. Generating the needed funding to support and operate local parks comes from a variety of sources, including federal and state governments, as well as foundations and private partners. In addition, strategies to maintain vibrant and safer parks involve multiple stakeholders, including public safety and other local government departments, as well as community groups.
South Bend is enhancing community assets and safety through a $50 million parks redevelopment effort. Part of long-term planning on pedestrian safety enhancements, a city-owned bike repair shop supports bike commuting in the city’s West Side.
Top issues include economic development, infrastructure and public health while parks and recreation and police department are important areas of focus for mayors in their 2019 state of cities speeches, according to the National League of Cities.
Open national parks are experiencing garbage overflows, restroom impacts and illegal off-roading, risking park damage as well as public health and safety impacts due to staffing shortage in government shutdown.
With the Trump administration's rollback of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) as it applies to the Clean Water Act, wetland and waterway restoration assistance is a priority in many communities. Three grants are opening early in 2019.