Council members announce support to increase funding for Parks & Recreation

What:  City Council Members will announce their support for increased funding and propose potential new revenue sources in response to Philadelphia Parks Alliance’s call to restore $8 million to the chronically underfunded Department of Parks and Recreation.

Who:  Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Chair of the Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, Councilmembers Mark Squilla, Kenyatta Johnson, James Kenney and other members will join community and park leaders from friends groups, rec centers and environmental groups organized by the Philadelphia Parks Alliance.  

Where:  City Hall, City Council Caucus Room 401

When:  Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

Details:   Four years ago Mayor Nutter and City Council approved a much celebrated increase to Parks and Recreation whose funding had been in decline for 30 years. The Parks Alliance supported Mayor Nutter’s proposal for an increase in the parking tax which was to be the dedicated source to fund this increase to parks. City Council approved the tax.  Four years later, the tax is collected, but not one penny has been spent on parks and recreation.  Instead, the Parks and Recreation budget is at one of the lowest points in years.

Of the city’s 130 recreation centers, 75 of them do not even have a custodian.  Today in 2012 there are 30% fewer staff than in 2000.  Today 609 employees battle to maintain 156 recreational facilities, 254 playgrounds, 405 ball fields, 465 basketball courts, 70 pools, 220 miles of trails, and much more spread across 10,000 plus acres.  In addition, this same park and rec staff is expected to keep safe and run programs for tens of thousands of children every day.  It is impossible.  Philadelphia spends less than one fourth per resident compared with Seattle.  Cincinnati, Chicago and New York spend over double per resident what Philadelphia invests into parks and recreation.

An $8 million increase for Parks and Recreation would bring the Department of Parks and Recreation’s operating budget back to $56 million – the level first promised by Mayor Nutter and approved by City Council four years ago.

Contact:  Lauren Bornfriend, Director, Philadelphia Parks Alliance (215) 879-8159, cell (215) 806-8244.

The Philadelphia Parks Alliance is an independent nonprofit organization that seeks to champion the public’s interest in outstanding parks, recreation and open spaces, key to making Philadelphia a healthy, vibrant and sustainable city for all. For more information about the Restore $8 Million campaign and the Parks Alliance go to or call 215-879-8159.

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