Below is from the Spokane City Parks director. But before that letter, I need to make it clear that we have some cool people in Spokane concerned that Park Departments like ours do not spend enough per capita per urban and park tree. In fact, the ex-city arborist, Jim Flott, was a dedicated city official; he now is a private consultant working out of Spokane. We have Carrie Anderson, the Tree Lady. You can find her at the Lands Council web site -- http://www.landscouncil.org/.
And specifically, at:
As computer software designers, architects, land use folk, urbanists, sustainability experts and just those communities of place and of purpose we associate with, we need to recognize the so-called free services trees give us. Storm water work, dampening of wind sheets, insulation in the winter, soil maintenance, shading in the summer, carbon sequestration, urban canopy of wildlife habitat, and dozens more. A home with good trees sells for more than one where there is just grass and empty space.
We need better planners, better people, better community engagement, and an end to the top down organizing and dictating from the limited technocrat's or business person's point of view. We hope to get citizens to be watchdogs and to tell the current planning director of parks to listen and be part of the neighborhood planning-organizing ethos. Here's what Leroy Eadie, director, writes to get us involved. But you have to attend these meetings and hold guys like Leroy accountable:
"The Spokane Parks and Recreation Department is currently conducting an ambitious, comprehensive organizational assessment process that varies from past planning efforts. One of the interests of the process is to insure sustainable parks and recreation services for Spokane residents.
This assessment process began in 2009 and continues to evolve. GP RED, the non-profit firm leading the project, will conduct another series of community workshops intended to engage citizen representatives in the next component of the process, Financial Resource Allocation.
Three community groups --
current parks and recreation service users
and city leaders
are being asked to participate in two workshops each (90 minutes per workshop, three hour commitment total), the first of which will take place the week of January 18.
These workshops follow other public meetings and forums held in 2009 that solicited public opinion and feedback concerning community values, a vision for the Department, and community issues and challenges as they relate to parks and recreation services. This next step will focus on the development of a financial resource allocation philosophy intended to assist the department in preparing for its economic future. Your opinions are invaluable to this step in the process so we hope that you are able to attend and participate.
Service Users Workshop I will be scheduled for January 19 from 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. at the Finch Arboretum Woodland Center. We would appreciate your RSVP by no later than January 13 to Mike Aho at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 625-6546 to confirm attendance."
Here are the values the Spokane Parks Department is hoping to build upon in terms of the value we put on trees, essentially:
…provides and promotes a parks and recreation system which advocates healthy lifestyles and the value of play.
…stimulates the local economy through the provision of venues, events and activities which draws visitors and keeps local citizens close to home; well-maintained and managed greenspaces that enhance property values; and the creation of employment opportunities.
…directs the acquisition and stewardship of properties for parks and recreation purposes while balancing active recreation and environmental interests.
…promotes community safety through the development, maintenance, and management of the parks and recreation system.
…insures reasonable access to opportunities within a diverse parks and recreation system.
…honors the history and legacy of the Spokane parks system through celebration, preservation and restoration efforts.
…innovatively develops and manages the responsible, efficient and equitable use of resources leading to the sustainability of a strong and viable parks and recreation system.
...demonstrates accountability and a collaborative culture through open communication, stakeholder participation, and transparent management practices.
...continues to encourage a sense of community and pride through the provision of a parks and recreation system that affords citizens social gathering places and spaces.