So -- who should run the city's parks, now that the county-city agreement is defunct? City Hall? The Olmsted Conservancy? Both?
It's a question of stewardship, not ownership -- they're still city parks. Under a contract with the county, the conservancy has been doing a good job of managing the top-of-the-line parks -- the Frederick Law Olmsted system -- and of planning for the future. But there's been criticism of the county's upkeep of lesser city parks and the network of playgrounds. Those will now revert to the City Parks Department, and Mayor Brown said that's now an affordable and proper move.
But the Olmsted parks remain an issue. The conservancy brings scores of volunteers to the maintenance and improvement effort -- something not likely to sit particularly well with city unions -- and it also brings a lot of private-sector money in the forms of grants and donations that city would be unlikely to get. That's millions, and it's needed. The city has enough on its financial plate without trying to close that gap, and there's a history of parks decline in the city's past.
Our take: a review is something taxpayers should expect, but any renegotiation that freezes out the conservancy would be a bad, and political, move.
What say you?