The economic news facing the nation and the city is now having its impacton our recreation and parks system in San Francisco. The City has a $500million budget shortfall. It is really hard to even imagine the scale ofthis problem.
For the Recreation and Park Department, we are beingrequired to cut $11.4 million.In the midst of all this bad news, the San Francisco parks system justreceived a rating of eighty-six percent – This excellent number has gone upthree years in a row and shows what a good job the city is collectivelydoing to maintain our beloved parks.We have approached the budget problem by firstly trying to raise revenue inthe form of rock festivals, paid parking in parks, and increases to fees.While these are not all popular, they are necessary before we look atlaying-off staff.
As a result of this effort, we have come up with $4.8million in new revenue.Secondly, we cut managers and administrative positions by more thanthirteen percent, totaling $1.7 million. This is a good start but itdoesn’t get us all the way.I have visited over 200 of our parks facilities on my bicycle – thanks toall the members of the public that have joined me over the last threemonths!
One of the things that struck me was either the complete lack ofposted opening times or opening times that differed greatly from facilityto facility. We have worked to change this! For the first time, we willhave full-service recreation centers and swimming pools that will be open7-days per week and all our facilities will have clear schedules.
Unfortunately, we will have to lay off a total of 72 staff – mostlyproviders of recreation programs. While it is impossible to offer the samelevel of service with less staff, we are confident that we have developed aplan that will minimize the service impacts. All parks, playgrounds,recreation centers, pools, golf courses, gyms, art centers, senior centersand clubhouses will remain open. Not one recreation and parks facility willclose as a result of this budget.We will keep you informed as we move forward. More detailed informationabout this plan is available on our website:http://www.parks.sfgov.org/wcm_recpark/Budget/SBP021109.pdf. As aparticipant in our recreation programs, you play an important role in ourpartnership with your community and we welcome your comments and ideasabout how we can serve you better.
Best regards,Jared Blumenfeld,
General ManagerSan Francisco Recreation and Park Department