As Mass Closures Loomed, CA Parks Hoarded a Pile of Green

When California planned to close 70 parks this month to save $22 million, donors sprang into action to help keep them open. It turns out they needn't have, as last week it was revealed the CA Dept. of Parks and Recreation stashed away $54 million.

News broke on Friday that while the California Department of Parks and Recreation "painted a dire picture of the system's health, soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in what was thought to be a desperate scramble to keep facilities open," a trove of nearly $54 million remained untapped in two funds, report Chris Megerian and Patrick McGreevy. As a result, Ruth Coleman, director of the department since 2002, resigned, and her second in command, acting Chief Deputy Michael Harris, was fired. 

At this time it is "unclear whether mismanagement or deliberate deceit led to the concealment of the funds," write Megerian and McGreevy. Finding an answer to this question will no doubt be the aim of an investigation lauched by the state attorney general's office.

"'It disgusts me,' said Myra Hilliard, who donated and helped raise money for the Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier. 'Is anybody honest about anything anymore? Here we are working so hard to keep the park open and they have all this money they aren't telling us about.'"

Secretary John Laird of the California Natural Resources Agency, which oversees the department, "said in a conference call with reporters that lawmakers will ultimately decide how to appropriate the surplus." 

Full Story: California parks department finds $54-million surplus

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00