Park Change

Posted: September 20, 2007

SIX YEARS ago, the Daily News published a series of editorials bemoaning the state of the city's park system. We weren't the first, but the "Acres of Neglect" series illustrated how years of financial and management neglect of the city's glorious park system had taken their toll.

At that time, we called for many changes, the most important being the reform of the park's governing body. Members of the Fairmount Park Commission, established in 1857, were appointed in secret by the Board of Judges, and too often, appointees did nothing to further the park's agenda in City Hall or the city's neighborhoods.

Today, all that could change with a bill authored by City Council members Darrell Clarke and Blondell Reynolds Brown that would ultimately dissolve the current commission and create a board of overseers to be appointed by the mayor with guidance from Council.

These new members will have to have expertise in natural lands, watershed and environmental management, and a variety of other important areas like recreation and urban planning. The bill was crafted with the help of park advocates. If passed, the question of the park's future will be put to voters in the fall.

It's about time. *

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