NRPA explores ways to boost parks funding

ASHBURN, Va. — Park leaders from across the country will gather in Seattle, Washington, Aug. 8–10, to discuss how different communities have succeeded — and failed — in going to voters for dedicated park and recreation funding.

Organized by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in collaboration with Seattle Parks and Recreation, the three-day NRPA Innovation Lab, titled #Winning: The Art of Getting Voters to Open Their Wallets for Parks, will explore the politics of voter-approved park and recreation funding mechanisms using Seattle’s passage of a special park district in 2014 as a model.

“Despite the fact that parks build healthy, vibrant communities and public support for these spaces is widespread, adequate funding for parks at the local level is an issue,” said Barbara Tulipane, CAE, NRPA president and CEO. “As cities like Seattle have shown us, there is a viable path for dedicated park and recreation funding, and this event will explore how to gain voters’ support for park and recreation priorities.”

“Seattle Parks and Recreation is thrilled to co-host the NRPA Innovation Lab and to share our experiences around the 2014 voter-approved Seattle Park District, which provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for City parks and recreation,” said Christopher Williams, interim superintendent for Seattle Parks and Recreation. “Engaging and collaborating with local communities to explore new funding mechanisms is critical in helping Seattle, and other cities, to increase access and opportunities for diverse and growing populations.”

Through case studies, panel discussions and an interactive workshop, attendees will gain knowledge of key tools and strategies to implement a successful ballot measure in their community. In addition, attendees will learn how to match their community’s needs with funding sources and how to craft a campaign to meet those needs.

Sponsored by Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, the event will feature several notable speakers, including Patrick Guerriero, founding partner, Civitas Public Affairs Group; J. Dee Frankfourth, associate national conservation strategies director, The Trust for Public Land; and Dr. Stephen Page, associate professor, University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.

Representatives from Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Seattle Parks Foundation will participate in a panel discussion on The Seattle Parks Legacy Plan. In addition, representatives from Great Rivers Greenway, Cincinnati Parks and Recreation, and Metro Parks Tacoma will participate in a panel discussion on the successes and failures of various park and recreation campaigns across the country. On the final day, the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance will facilitate a workshop on designing a funding campaign.

A copy of the agenda is available here.

Use #NRPAInnovation to join the discussion on Twitter.

To learn more about NRPA, visit

To learn more about Seattle Parks and Recreation, visit

SOURCE: National Recreation and Park Association press release


Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt

Ronnie Wendt has been a writer/editor for more than 25 years, working in law enforcement, aviation, supply chain and the RV industry. She's not a stranger to RVs, however. She grew up camping, and still camps as many weekends as she can every year. She is the owner of In Good Company Communications and can be reached at

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