December 3, 2019

In This Issue...

Welcome new members
Best practices forum
Member news
Research and resources
In the news
News from NACo
Job announcements


The National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials is a non-profit professional organization that advances official policies that promote county and regional park and recreation issues while providing members with opportunities to network, exchange ideas and best practices, and enhance professional development.

Learn more about us at:


The next issue of NACPRO News will be delivered on December 17, 2019.

If you have news or an article to share, please send it to the editor by December 16.

Brenda Adams-Weyant
(814) 927-8212
[email protected]

NACPRO's Sponsors

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Job Announcements

Director of Parks and Recreation
City of Charlottesville, Virginia
Salary: $89,247 - $178,495 year
Closing Date: Dec 27, 2019

District Superintendent II
California State Parks
Sacramento, California
Salary: $13,867 month
Closing Date: Dec 23, 2019

Chief Operating Officer
Great Parks of Hamilton County
Cincinnati, Ohio
Salary: $96,214 - $144,321 year
Closing Date: Dec 21, 2019

For more information:


Welcome New Members

James Davis, Director of Aquatics
Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation
Lake Worth, Florida

Kelton P. Harvey, Administrative Officer
Broward County Parks and Recreation
Oakland Park, Florida

Best Practices Forum

Got an issue you need advice on? Or a best practice you want to share? Send us the details and we will publish it in the next NACPRO News.

Member News

San Diego Utility to Install EV Chargers at Schools and Parks
Courtesy of

By Rob Nikolewski

CALIFORNIA - In another effort by state policymakers to encourage electric vehicle adoption, the California Public Utilities Commission last week approved two pilot programs from San Diego Gas & Electric that will construct about 340 public charging stations at 52 sites at schools, parks and beaches in the region.

The programs are estimated to cost $18.8 million and will be funded by SDG&E ratepayers.

One pilot program will bring chargers to 22 state beaches and state, city and county parks. OK’d by the public utilities commission last Thursday, it is estimated to cost $8.9 million.

Read more:


Los Angeles Asks Residents to Design Their Own Parks
Courtesy of Next City

By Zoe Sullivan

CALIFORNIA - Land trusts have gained attention across the U.S. as a means to preserve affordable housing, but the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust (LANLT) has a different focus: it hones in on access to parks and gardens. Yet parks can also be drivers of gentrification, and so Los Angeles County officials and green-space activists — including LANLT — have been conducting outreach to ensure that some of the county’s most vulnerable residents have a say in how parks are developed and renovated.

Participatory planning approaches are becoming more common, and Los Angeles — which, with a population of 9.8 million people, is more populous than 10 U.S. states — has made a significant effort to engage residents in park planning.

Los Angeles County’s assessment found that more than half of Los Angeles County is “park poor” and 82 percent of the park-poor areas are located within communities of color. Recognizing these disparities, in 2016 voters in the county approved “Measure A,” a property tax which should produce approximately $94.5 million annually for parks and open space.

“What we found is that those communities that have historically been underserved, they don’t have the best relationship with government, the best experience. So, there’s a certain level of distrust,” says Clement Lau, a planner with Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation. That’s why part of the process of conducting the parks needs assessment included the department recruiting community-based organizations, paying them a stipend to organize neighborhood meetings and gather resident input. Lau says people were more willing to participate in the consultation process when they were being contacted by organizations with community roots.

Read more:

Research and Resources

7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design
Courtesy of PlayCore

Developed in partnership with Utah State University, Center for Persons with Disabilities, PlayCore offers a comprehensive design program for creating play environments for people of all ages and abilities and creating inclusive communities through play. The program defines 7 principles of inclusive playground design that strive to create a truly inclusive and embracing play experience to meet the developmental needs of the whole child by intentionally providing opportunities for physical, cognitive, communicative, social/emotional, and sensory development.

Me2® is the only inclusive playground design program that takes the 7 Principles of Inclusive Design, first originated for commercial building, and tailors them specifically to the play environment. Me2 provides best practices for upgrading existing, or building new play environments that consider the needs of the whole child.

The Me2 program was developed to serve as an educational resource for communities that are planning, creating, or revitalizing outdoor play environments. Inclusive playgrounds make a fundamental statement about how communities value meaningful play experiences for people of all ages and abilities. The 7 Principles of Inclusive Playground Design™ create universally designed play environments that increase the “playability” for people of diverse abilities, age, race, gender, ethnicity, culture, and socioeconomic status. Implementation of these best practice principles helps create a unique and meaningful play environment that is usable by more people, to the greatest extent possible.

Read more:


Economic Profile System
Courtesy of Headwaters Economics

The Economic Profile System is free and easy to use. Quickly create and download reports of current and historical socioeconomic data in convenient formats.

Download socioeconomic reports of communities, counties, & states, including aggregations and comparisons. The Economic Profile System (EPS) uses federal data sources, including the Bureaus of Economic Analysis, Census, & others. EPS is also known as the Human Dimensions Toolkit by the Forest Service.

- Free and easy to use.
- Available nation-wide — any state, county, custom combination of geographies, and for the demographics report, also sub-county.
- Updated continuously with the latest data.
- Uses reliable, published government data.
- Downloadable in Excel or PDF formats.

For more information:


The Outdoor Recreation Economy by State
Courtesy of Headwaters Economics

In September, 2019, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released state-level data measuring how the outdoor recreation industry contributes to state Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The following charts highlight the ways in which the outdoor recreation economy contributes to national and state economies. These figures help to put outdoor recreation into context with other economically valuable industries.

For more information:


Community Engagement Best Practices
Courtesy of NRPA

By Jennifer Fulcher

Park and recreation spaces are a hub for all kinds of community interactions. So, it just makes sense that all people, no matter their differences, should be engaged in these spaces. NRPA provides the tools that park and recreation professionals need to implement equitable and inclusive community engagement that ensures fair and just decision-making power and that results in welcoming, culturally relevant park spaces that provide multiple benefits.

A group of 36 professionals gathered on September 23, 2019, to engage in a lively discussion about community engagement, inclusion and equity. NRPA hosted the educational training and brought in Holly Madill, director of the National Charrette Institute at Michigan State University, and Dionardo Pizaña, diversity, equity and inclusion specialist for Michigan State University, to lead the discussion.

The session built on a foundation of information and best practices described in NRPA’s Community Engagement Resource Guide: Creating Equitable Access to High-Performing Parks.

The training and the guide shared lessons learned from real-world experiences. Clement Lau, departmental facilities planner for the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), attended the training and describes how his county’s Parks Needs Assessment is featured as a case study in the guide. “The guide is great, and I have shared it with my colleagues here,” he states. “This will help us as we develop formal community engagement policies for our department.”

Read more:


National Award for Living Shoreline Project
Courtesy of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) announced that Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) is a winner of the 2019 Best Restored Shore award for “implementing creative solutions to eroding shores, rising seas, and degrading environmental conditions,” specifically for its living shoreline project at the DuPont Nature Center in Milford, Delaware.

“We are honored to be recognized by the ASBPA for our living shoreline project on the Mispillion River located in the Delaware Estuary,” PDE Executive Director Kathy Klein said. “Our science team has worked tirelessly on this and similar projects that have resulted in stabilizing coastal edges and creating habitat for living resources."

“Living shoreline” describes a variety of nature-based techniques used for erosion control, water quality improvement, and/or habitat enhancement along shorelines experiencing erosion and/or ecological stress. As living shorelines develop, the services they provide, such as habitat for wildlife, shorebirds, and shellfish, increase. The Mispillion Living Shoreline Project is one of several that PDE has installed and monitored since 2008 throughout Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

“The Mispillion Living Shoreline is a great example of how we can often use nature-based tactics to address multiple societal goals such as flood protection and clean water, avoiding expensive methods such as bulkheads that degrade the environment and don’t keep pace with sea-level rise,” said Dr. Danielle Kreeger, PDE’s science director. “It’s one thing to say a living shoreline can do these things, but it’s far more useful to actually show it by directly measuring project outcomes using scientific monitoring.”

Read more:


Measuring the impact of Colorado's great outdoors
Courtesy of the Daily Sentinel

By Cory Gardner

COLORADO - In September, the government released the findings of its first-ever state-level measurements of outdoor recreation's economic impact. Now we can prove outdoor recreation isn't just good for our physical and mental health, but our state's economy as well. We now have, for the first time ever, quantifiable proof that outdoor recreation is an $11 billion share of the economy in Colorado. The industry makes up 3.3% of our gross domestic product and is responsible for 5.3% of all jobs in the Centennial State. Nationally, outdoor recreation is growing faster than the United States economy and contributes $427 billion to our country's gross domestic product.

Read more:


NRPA Park and Recreation Marketing and Communications Report
Courtesy of NRPA

One of the biggest challenges park and recreation agencies face is building awareness of their programming and amenities. The NRPA Park and Recreation Marketing and Communications Report highlights how agencies like yours effectively market their offerings in a competitive marketplace -- often with limited resources -- and will help your agency increase awareness and build public engagement.

Read more:


Trends in Recreation Centers
Courtesy of GreenPlay

By Becky Dunlap, CPRP and John Rainey

The modern recreation center of today is a far cry from the school gym from which they originated. On her podcast, BeckyTalksParks, GreenPlay consultant Becky Dunlap had an opportunity to talk about the emerging trends in recreation centers with Craig Bouck, CEO of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture. BRS is a planning and design firm that focuses primarily on community and recreation design. They work around the country to bring a lot of these trends to life. This article features excerpts from their conversation.

This article is focusing on trends related to 5 categories in rec center design: planning, programming, aquatics, fitness and operations.

Read more:


Virginia nonprofit gets low-income students interested in parks
Courtesy of Richmond Magazine

By David Streever

VIRGINIA - The James River Park System sees more than 1.3 million visitors each year, making it one of the top destinations in the commonwealth. But despite its popularity, city green spaces remain off-limits to many, and it’s not just because of geography.

The Trust for Public Land has found that 80% of homes in low-income neighborhoods are a short walk from a city park, but many residents don’t get to enjoy the outdoors. The Blue Sky Fund, a local nonprofit that provides science education in the outdoors to thousands of students in Richmond Public Schools, is trying to change that.

“For many of our students, their experience with Blue Sky is the first time they’ve ever been to the river, even though they live blocks from it,” says Tanesha Powell, the organization’s academic program manager.

Powell says many students don’t feel like they belong in area parks, and they often lack transportation, free time or the right equipment. Executive Director Eleanor Kootsey says that when Blue Sky does winter programming, they supply winter coats, gloves and hats. They also loan gear to students so they can bring their parents back to destinations. “Even their parents are seeing some of these places for the first time,” Powell says.

Read more:

In the News

Federal Transportation Bill on Tap
Courtesy of NRPA

By Margo Pedroso

The Safe Routes Partnership is working with partners, like NRPA, to push Congress to direct more funding to active transportation projects. While there are many different pieces of legislation we are supporting, our top two priorities are as follows: helping local governments build more active transportation routes and making active transportation safer.

In July, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed S. 2302, America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act of 2019 (ATIA). We are pleased with the attention ATIA gives to active transportation. The bill includes $2 billion more in funding for TAP over five years, plus nearly all our recommendations to make the program even more accessible to local governments. It also includes a new program created by Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) that would potentially direct $200 million more to active transportation safety projects. While ATIA still needs to make its way through three other Senate committees before it can be considered by the full Senate, the active transportation provisions are very strong.

The U.S. House of Representatives has been holding hearings and listening to recommendations from members of Congress and constituents, and we anticipate seeing their transportation legislation early next year. We hope the House transportation bill will build on the Senate’s and include even stronger provisions for biking, walking and rolling.

Read more:


New Proposal Would Tax Gear and Legalized Pot to Fund Public Lands
Courtesy of

By Justin Housman

A tax on outdoor gear, and, possibly, legalized marijuana and sports gambling, are potential income streams in a new proposal put to Congress this week by the Center for Western Priorities. In a 32-page report, the nonpartisan conservation advocacy group argues for the creation of what it calls the Conservation Trust Fund to meaningfully address, once and for all, the nearly $20 billion shortfall in public lands maintenance needs.

The National Park Service’s $12 billion backlog gets most of the bad press, but the rest of our public lands agencies are in the red too; the US Forest Service, for example, faces its own $5 billion shortfall. The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Land Management are both roughly $1 billion short of funding their own maintenance programs.

To bridge those gaps, the CWP is thinking creatively. Their new proposal rests heavily on increased royalties imposed on resource extraction from public lands by updating the rates, most of which haven’t changed in decades, that energy companies pay to lease and operate their businesses on public lands. Many oil and gas firms pay as little as $1.50 per acre to lease the land they drill. A similar effort to close loopholes that coal companies use to circumvent royalty payments are included in the report. Royalties on renewable energy sources like solar and wind would also be part of the funding portfolio.

Read more:


Surrounding yourself with this one thing can add years to your life
Courtesy of

By Nina Pullano

Gloomy, gray cityscapes making you crave the feeling of sitting beneath a lush, green tree canopy? You aren’t alone. But there is more to being in nature than lifting the spirits or breathing fresh air. It could add years to your life.

People in urban areas worldwide who live close to a park, garden, or other natural area are at lower risk of premature death, according to a scientific review published this week in The Lancet Planetary Health.

Researchers used a “vegetation index” to measure the density of flora living in any given area. On their scale, tropical rainforests would get a score close to 1, while barren rock or sand would score closer to 0.

Studies from the United States, Canada, Spain, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, and China all showed the same trends, the meta-analysis found. Together, those studies included more than eight million people.

The analysis doesn’t answer the question of why proximity to plants is a boon to human health. But this confirms the assumption with big data — being near green spaces really is good for you (the more, the better), and the effect likely applies no matter where you are in the world.

Read more:


With Paper Monuments, New Orleanians Draft the City’s History Themselves
Courtesy of Next City

By Zoe Sullivan

LOUISIANA - during the initial months of President Donald Trump’s term, activists around the country raised their voices calling for the removal of monuments to the U.S. Confederacy. New Orleans became a focal point for this campaign with local groups like Take ‘Em Down NOLA pushing city officials to eliminate all symbols of white supremacy. Not everyone agreed.

Thus far, New Orleans has removed four Confederate monuments, but instead of rushing to fill those empty pedestals, the city hit the pause button in order to reflect on the best way to replace them. The Paper Monuments project, a participatory imagining of the monuments New Orleanians would like, stepped into that pause to involve New Orleanians in the conversation about what should come next.

The Paper Monuments project was a two-year process that asked New Orleanians to describe and draw new monuments they would like to see. Sue Mobley, director of advocacy at the non-profit multidisciplinary design practice that ran the project, says Paper Monuments also aimed to challenge the idea that monuments must be in stone or bronze. Henriette Delille, a free woman of color who founded a religious institute that ministered to the poor, was featured on one poster as was the Enslaved People’s Uprising of 1811, the largest insurrection by enslaved people in the history of the United States.

Read more:


Taking Event Sponsorship to the Next Level
Courtesy of Parks and Recreation Business

By David A. Miller

FLORIDA - Fifteen years ago, Fort Lauderdale city’s parks department was the king of special events, hosting 10 to 12 major community shows annually. As money became scarce and budgets were reduced, many of the events were eliminated. Although the city often partnered with outside groups, it still underwrote a large share of the costs.

In taking an honest assessment, department members realized we had four major events that were still viable--three sponsored by major companies, and the last--the July Fourth events--totally funded by the city. We quickly realized that in order to grow our event portfolio, we needed to substantially raise sponsorship dollars to underwrite the costs.

We decided to hire an outside consultant who was completely dedicated to soliciting funds on our behalf. There were two major reasons we opted to go with a consultant instead of an agency employee. First, we could negotiate a percentage arrangement for paying the consultant’s fee. If no revenue was generated, there would be no expenses out of the department’s pocket. This eliminated salary and benefit expenses for a staff person. Second, we needed someone who knew the major corporate players in the area, and who could speak their language.

Read more:


SF’s 24-hour public bathrooms show promise in keeping feces off streets
Courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle

By Dominic Fracassa

CALIFORNIA - San Francisco officials are extending a pilot program examining the impact of keeping three public bathrooms open around the clock in neighborhoods where requests for feces removal really tend to pile up.

The extension is expected to build on the success of an experiment that began in August, when the city decided to keep three Pit Stops — public stalls with on-site staffers — open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

For the city’s homeless, the Pit Stops have become places where people can relieve themselves with dignity. They’ve also transcended their function as public bathrooms: With an epidemic of injection-drug use, Pit Stop monitors have frequently stepped in to provide life-saving care to people who overdose in their stalls. Pit Stops also provide needle disposals and bags for picking up dog waste.

Read more:

News from NACo

 2020 NACo Achievement Awards Now Open

Since 1970, the NACo Achievement Awards have recognized outstanding county government programs and services. Through a non-competitive application process, noteworthy programs receive awards in 18 categories that cover a vast range of county responsibilities. By participating, your county can earn national recognition.

The 18 "best of category" winners will be recognized on stage at the 2020 NACo Annual Conference in Orange County/Orlando, Fla., and all winners will be recognized in the program book and online. We also provide a customizable press release for you to share the good news with the media and county residents.

We encourage all counties, parishes and boroughs to apply.

Early Bird Deadline: March 9, 2020 (save $25 off the application fee)

Final Deadline: March 30, 2020

For more information:


Webinar: The Future of Transportation and Recreation Trail Projects
Courtesy of American Trails

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019
Time: 10:00 - 11:30 am Pacific (1:00 - 2:30 pm Eastern)
Price: $19 members/$39 nonmembers
Learning credits: Included in registration fee

Corps are embedded in their communities and serve as cost-effective, common-sense partners that show up ready to work, manage their own crews, and help increase your staff capacity. Learn how you can engage the next generation of diverse trail, transportation, and recreation professionals.

For more information:

NACPRO | PO Box 74, Marienville, PA 16239 | (814) 927-8212