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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.