October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18

FINANCE FOR THE FIELD EXTRA
A Conversation With Dr. John L. Crompton
By Kevin Roth
n both the September issue and this issue of Parks & Recreation magazine,
we have featured columns from John L. Crompton, Ph.D., the university
distinguished professor of recreation, park and tourism sciences at Texas
A&M University, on the topic of equity. Dr. Crompton has had an illustrious
academic career, spanning more than 45 years, preparing park and recreation
students for their future careers and publishing articles and books on marketing
and financing public leisure and tourism services. Well respected in academia, he
also has provided park and recreation consulting services for many jurisdictions
and currently serves as a member of the city council in College Station, Texas.
Dr. Crompton's recent columns
describe four ways that agencies and
their jurisdictions operationalize equity
and allocate finite park and recreation
resources: compensatory equity,
equality, market/benefit equity and
demand. He concludes this month's
column by noting communities must
play the long game in their commitment
to equity - whatever definition
they follow - as it may take years to
achieve desired outcomes. Recently, I
followed up with him to better understand
how park and recreation professionals
and advocates can promote
greater equity. Following is a synopsis
of our discussion.
You Have to Ally With
What's Important
Dr. Crompton notes that many cities
have limited abilities to grow their
budgets year to year due to a lack of
18 Parks & Recreation | O CTOBER 2 0 2 1
voter or political will to raise taxes
and, in some states, caps that limit
revenue increases. Further, changes in
the relative size of each department's
slice of the budget pie are incremental
at best. For example, he used his experience
as a political leader in College
Station, noting that " their mandate is
to health, safety and welfare... with
safety being number one. " As a result,
the city spends 54 percent of its annual
budget on police and fire, with him
declaring, " that's not going to get lower. "
With so much of his city's budget
essentially locked down, parks and
recreation is one of many local government
services vying for funding
among the remaining 46 percent.
Dr. Crompton states
that,
in
this environment, " [i]t all comes
down to positioning. " Park and
recreation agencies must position
themselves to be a solution to local
political leaders' chief concerns.
He notes that a mayor, city manager
or council member thinks, " if
you [all] are on the side of assisting
in these, then I'm going to do everything
I can to push money your
way. But if you [all] are not on my
side, then I can't help you. "
For his community, political
leaders' and voters' chief concern
has been economic development.
| PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
I
" And so, over the [past] 15 years,
the parks and recreation department
in our community is central
to economic development and everybody
recognizes it, " he says.
If You Want Equity, Ally
With a Local Political
Problem
What is important to political leaders
may differ significantly by community,
and history may provide
insight on how parks and recreation
can support its mission. Dr. Crompton
notes that the initial driver for
publicly funded recreation in the
United States more than a century
ago was to reduce youth crime.
Similarly, improving public health
was a primary spark for the creation
of public urban parks. " Building a
massive urban park like [New York
City's] Central Park or others in
major [polluted] cities was because
they created clean air. "
He contends the strongest " making
the case " argument [would]
be that " parks are essential to the
health of the
population. " The
past two years have well demonstrated
this point, as the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic led
to record levels of park visitation
in many communities across the
United States. Parks and recreation
not only was the sole physical activity
opportunity for many people
during the early days of the pandemic,
but also was a significant
contributor to many communities'
emergency response.
For many political leaders, park
professionals
and
recreation
and
their agencies can be a robust solu

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2021 - Parks & Recreation

October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
October 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
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