Troubled Times for Philadelphia's Underfunded Parks

With one of Philadelphia's best-supported public parks in danger of losing the private funding that keeps it maintained, <em>Philadelphia Inquirer</em> architecture critic Inga Saffron looks at the sad state of the city's parks.
May 27, 2010, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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Saffron says many city parks are in danger of falling apart, as the city is unable to fund their operations. With just $12.6 million dedicated to its parks, Philadelphia pales in comparison to other cities, like Chicago where $392 million is budgeted for parks.

Rittenhouse Square, a park in one of the more affluent parts of the city, is dependent on private contributions, but due to the economic downturn, contributions are down.

"Things are so bad that the Friends are weighing what is considered extreme action in these parts: permitting a food concession inside the park and other income-generating activities. There is serious talk of turning the square over to a special services district, similar to the Center City District, and taxing nearby properties.

If the richest neighborhood in Philadelphia is having trouble supporting the park that serves as its front lawn - and the unofficial living room for the entire region - just imagine the situation in other parts of the city."

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Published on Friday, May 21, 2010 in The Philadelphia Inquirer
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