Parks commission looking for quality applicants

Fairmount Park, which has been selected for praise by a national travel guide, is in need of applicants for its board. Applications are due Wednesday. PHOTO CREDIT
Fairmount Park, which has been selected for praise by a national travel guide, is in need of applicants for its board. Applications are due Wednesday. PHOTO CREDIT
Posted: May 06, 2012

With Philadelphia recently singled out for national praise for its park system, this should be a good time to put out the call for top-notch individuals to volunteer for the panel that provides oversight for Fairmount Park and recreation policymaking.

That’s certainly the hope of both Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, who made personal appeals several weeks ago for applicants for nine slots on the Commission on Parks and Recreation. Six city officials round out the 15-member commission.

Nutter said he’s seeking “committed citizens who share my vision for a strong and sustainable park and recreation system.”

In the same spirit, Council parks committee Chairwoman Cindy Bass noted that, “The safety, cleanliness, and accessibility of our parks and recreation system are important not just to citizens, but to our city’s continued success.”

Nearly four years after voters overwhelmingly approved plans to create the parks panel and streamline the city’s 9,200-acre park system, it might be tempting to read too much into Philadelphia’s being placed on Frommer’s list of the 10 best cities for parks.

“The parks are home to more than 200 historic buildings, America’s oldest zoo, six golf courses, cycling trails, performance venues and an array of landscaped gardens and wooded areas,” the Frommer’s website observed.

The top-10 listing represents an impressive report card on the progress to unite parks and recreation facilities, to be sure. It’s also a tribute to the stewardship of Mayor Nutter’s parks chief, Michael DiBerardinis.

With city funding for the parks all but flat-lined some years ago, however, the need is as great as it ever was for citizens to continue pushing for the upkeep and improvement of the park.

The Commission on Parks and Recreation plays a key role, charged as it is with setting guidelines for parkland use, preservation, and even the sale or lease of parkland and recreation facilities.

And what could be more central to preserving Fairmount Park than keeping land from being sold off unwisely and developed for unattractive uses?

With Wednesday’s deadline for applications (available at phila.gov/recreation) approaching, good people need to answer the call — as many others have done throughout Fairmount Park’s 150-year history.

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