We will provide reliable and diversified funding for park development, capital improvement, maintenance, and operations. In order to provide adequate resources for the park system, we must diversify funding sources beyond our current reliance on sales taxes. Because bonds and property taxes can be used for capital projects, the most immediate need is for additional maintenance and operation funding. But a complete program must use a spectrum of techniques and a variety of partners. Diversification must be equitable to all parts of the city and not burden low-income households or any one particular group or constituency.
The Parks Master Plan presents a variety of options for various aspects of park development and operation. Sources for maintenance and operations include endowments, stormwater utility and impact fees, dedicated sales taxes, user fees, and private support. Land acquisition and capital development techniques include land dedication requirements and payments based on impact and demand created by projects, private park development, bond issues, dedication of easements, and private philanthropy.
We will supplement public funding of park development and operations by building a network of partnerships with other public, nonprofit, and private agencies and organizations. Budget constraints, state law that limits revenue sources for operations, the need to catch up on maintenance and replacement and keep up with growth, and other factors mean that city funding alone probably cannot provide the resources necessary to build, maintain, and operate the park system that Oklahoma City needs. Partnerships can provide the extra support and assistance that the system needs – as the Parks Master Plan puts it, “they can help make the difference between a park system that struggles and one that sparkles.” The plan’s recommendations for partnerships include support organizations, corporate or health provider sponsorships, conservancies, a Parks Foundation, and advocacy groups. Conservancies have special value for iconic parks. A conservancy-like group supports Myriad Gardens. Other possibilities for conservancies include the four original parks for the 1910 Dunn Plan and the MAPS 3 Park in the Core to Shore district.
Explore public/private funding sources and management structures, including non-profit conservancies, to improve, operate, manage and maintain downtown parks and open spaces.
Establish partnerships and programs with neighborhood associations and other organizations to improve maintenance of parks by:
- Increasing participation in the OKC Beautiful’s “Adopt a Park” program. Participants can include nearby businesses, neighborhood associations, churches, schools, and nonprofit groups;
- Establishing incentives for participating in the“Adopt a Park” program, such as providing awards; and,
- Increasing volunteer park maintenance programs.
Increase the level of involvement and resources from agencies and other community groups to provide physical activity programming, such as after-school programs.
Reduce the City’s long term operations and maintenance costs by:
- Adapting more energy efficient technologies for park facilities;
- Using low water landscape palettes and recycled water for irrigation; and,
- Identifying and pursuing additional funding sources including: increased appropriations to the City’s Parks & Recreation Department; federal, state, or county funds; dedicated sales tax; impact fees/in lieu fees; private, corporate, and foundation grants; and business improvement or assessment districts.
Utilize private and public partnerships and determine appropriate locations and funding sources to build larger multi-generational centers that will replace existing, small, and outdated recreation centers.
Pursue all opportunities, including donations, conservation easements, inheritance trusts, naming rights, and developer incentives to accomplish the following:
- Acquiring new lands for parks, open space;
- Acquiring natural areas that provide greater opportunities for people to access nature;
- Maintaining existing and future parks, open space, and natural areas;
- Enhancing existing landscaping at parks and along trails by planting additional native vegetation.
Establish a parkland dedication program to ensure adequate provision of parks to serve future populations.
Use one or more of the following methods to ensure infrastructure and facility capacities are adequate for proposed development:
- Ongoing master planning to determine the necessary water, sewer, and road infrastructure to serve development.
- An impact fee system that collects funds for specific areas as they develop and installs needed infrastructure in a timely manner.
- Use of special service districts to ensure appropriate levels of service, sufficient revenue, and timely installation of infrastructure and facilities for each district.
- Require developers to construct or fully fund infrastructure or other improvements needed to serve their development, with reasonable accommodation for future adjacent or nearby development.
- Require developers to wait until the City (or the State as the case may be) constructs the infrastructure needed to serve their development.
- For development proposed in areas not currently within one-half mile of existing water infrastructure, require a service area study to first be completed to determine the best method for providing water to the service area.