Fall is well underway and winter’s on the doorstep, so maybe now really is the best time for parks and recreation departments to reflect on what worked and what didn’t this year, and to plot out how to bring those new ideas and underfunded dreams for next season a step closer to reality.
At the annual National Recreation and Parks Association conference last month they did just that — and so much more. Th e news, innovations and networking offered by the NRPA conference is always worth the trip, but this year — the organization’s 50th anniversary blowout — made it even more so. Even more parks professionals attended, even more news and trends were discussed and attendees had the chance to be hands-on with even more new products than usual. I’m happy for the residents of all the communities that attended, because bold new ideas are surely coming their way next year as a result of what attendees took home from the week of Sept. 13.
The Municipal also has some parks and recreation-related thoughts for you to mull over this month, including ways to make public parks and facilities and the rest of your city more dog friendly. Dog-owning residents are willing to spend both time and money on their companions: Recognizing that fact and catering to it stands to increase usership of installations and facilities, which translates into profit for private businesses and increased usership for parks and recreation. With the emphasis that exists today on providing data to make the case for parks department programming, maintenance and new construction, that data is money in the bank.
But we haven’t forgotten that October is also fire prevention month. Th e Municipal is pleased and honored to present in this issue the second of three installments from Newport News, Va., firefighter Dave Topczynski, who has taken the time to research, test and report on methods for rapid intervention that are specific to fire companies operating with less than a full rapid intervention team. That’s a common situation today, so Topzynski’s effort may be exactly what saves a member of your station in the not-so-distant future. We thank him for his work and for sharing it with Th e Municipal readers. Although it focuses on techniques used during fire response — not fire prevention — it’s a back-at-the-firehouse discussion that should happen perhaps after you visit the local elementary school to give safety presentations.
A side note: It’s only to be expected that fire prevention presentations to the public eventually begin to feel repetitive to fire service professionals. But every October there’s a new crop of children, new immigrants and adults who for one reason or another didn’t listen to the message before. Thanks for presenting it again and again. You just don’t know until the worst happens who heard that message for the first time this year — and listened. Have a safe October.