Beautiful, safe, accessible parks, and an outstanding school system are the two most popular reasons people and businesses give for locating in Montgomery County. Based on recent Montgomery County Resident Surveys (in 2007 and 2009), the parks are as critical to County residents as fire services, drinking water, electric service, snow removal, and street repairs and maintenance. Ninety-one percent (91%) of the County resident respondents in the 2009 survey report they’ve visited a park in the past 12 months, up from 86% from the 2007 survey – that’s more than 800,000 residents each year, and most visit more than once. Eighty-seven percent (87%) ranked parks as “good” or “excellent”, up from 85% in 2007. For the second year in a row, “recycling” is the only county activity residents have done with greater frequency than “visiting a park in the county.”
Parks are Critical Resources to County Residents:
- Parks improve mental and physical health.
Reports from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine show that “…creation of or enhanced access to places for physical activity combined with informational outreach…” results in a significant increase in physical activity. Our park system offers hundreds of amenities, programs and events.
- Parks improve the economy.
People are willing to pay more for property located close to parks and open spaces, and higher home values mean higher property taxes. Businesses located near our parks benefit from the programs and events that attract thousands of visitors. A 1998 real estate industry report puts it simply: “If people want to live in a place, companies, stores, hotels, and apartments will follow.” People prefer to live and play in safe and attractive green areas.
- Parks improve the environment.
The U.S. Forest Service calculated that over a 50-year lifetime, one tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen, provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycles $37,500 worth of water, and controls $31,250 worth of soil erosion.” Our park system actively manages more than 25,000 natural acres for environmental preservation, contributing greatly to this county’s environmental health.
- Parks improve social and community cohesion.
Access to parks and associated recreational opportunities reduces crime, especially among juveniles, provides children with the play time critical to cognitive development, and develops bonds between neighbors who share and value their community spaces. They create a sense of place in communities and locations where neighborhoods can come. Parks matter to our residents.
Staffing and funding levels for Montgomery Parks are lower now than at any time in the last decade. We recognize the difficult decisions County leaders have had to make. Montgomery Parks remains committed to doing its best with the resources its given to keep your parks clean, safe, and one of the best park systems in the country. They will continue to aggressively pursue effiencies in operations, proactively seek alternative funding to protect against shrinking tax revenues, and provide the best customer service possible given a reduced workforce and fewer resources. How can you help? Donate, volunteer—get involved!
Big Cuts Hurt Quality Park Services
Montgomery Parks received a 12.6% cut in fiscal year 2011 (which spans July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2011). In response, positions were abolished, contracts were cut, and services have had to be reduced. Given the size of the anticipated reduction for fiscal year 2012 (which spans July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012), Montgomery Parks will not be able to maintain our services at the current level, despite the actions, reductions, and streamlining already undertaken by the department. The impacts may include:
- Closing popular park facilities
- Reducing frequency of maintenance, including athletic fields
- Postponing new parks
- Postponing upgrades to current parks and facilities
- Reducing operating hours and response times to service calls
- Increasing park user fees
- Reducing the number of Parks staff
- Decreasing protection and management of sensitive natural areas
Did you know that wherever you are in Montgomery County, you are never more than 2 miles away from a park?
Montgomery Parks’ mission is to protect and interpret our valuable natural and cultural resources; balance the demand for recreation with the need for conservation; offer a variety of enjoyable recreational activities that encourage healthy lifestyles; and provide clean, safe, and accessible places for leisure-time activities.
PARK SYSTEM HIGHLIGHTS
Total number of parks: 414
Total acres of parkland: 35,115
Total developed acreage: 9,021
Open and environmental preservation acreage: 26,094
Athletic fields: 301 Lakes: 4
Overlay football/soccer fields: 57 Boating Facility – Rentals: 2
Basketball Courts: 207 Boating Landing Ramps: 3
Campgrounds – Full Service: 1 Miniature Golf: 1
Campgrounds – Primitive: 2 Miniature Trains: 2
Campsites: 102 Nature Centers: 4
Carousel: 1 Outdoor Ropes Course: 1
Dog Parks: 5 Park Activity Buildings: 29
Equestrian centers: 6 Picnic Shelters – Non-Permitted: 49
Event Centers: 5 Picnic Shelters – Permitted: 81
Exercise Courses: 13 Large Group Picnic Areas: 3
Formal Botanical Gardens: 2 Playgrounds: 291
Community Gardens: 5 Skate Park: 1
Golf Courses: 4 Splash Playground: 1
Driving Range (Stand Alone): 1 Tennis Centers – Indoor: 2 (12 Courts)
Gymnasiums: 1 Tennis Courts – Outdoor: 305
Historic Sites: 45 Trails – Canoe: 2.4 miles
Historic Structures: 110 Trails – Natural Surface: 138.9 miles
Ice Rinks: 2 Trails – Paved: 78.5 miles
Park Fund, Adopted Operating Budget FY2010 $75.84 million
Capital Improvements Program FY2011-2016 $52.4 million for acquisition
Capital Improvements Program FY2011-2016 $113.6 million for development
To learn more about Montgomery Parks, visit http://www.MontgomeryParks.org