Parks Chief in Buffalo, N.Y., Has Long Wish List for City

Parks in Buffalo, N.Y., need $4 million in new play equipment, basketball and tennis court upgrades, shelters, fences, benches, bleachers, barbecue grills and other improvements, according to the city's parks chief.

Andrew Rabb, deputy parks commissioner, submitted his $4 million wish list for the city's parks and recreation facilities on Wednesday, following a summer-long inspection of most of Buffalo's 190 parks, playgrounds and recreation centers. But, as The Buffalo News reports, Rabb was quick to point out that he doesn't expect the city to make all the improvements in a single year. "There's no way we're going to get it all done at once," Rabb said following a meeting of Buffalo's accountability panel. "This is giving us a way to establish a phased-in plan."

Mayor Byron Brown has reviewed Rabb's long list of prospective improvements and agrees that the equipment purchases and facility improvements would have to be done in phases over a number of years. He also told the paper that he expects to set aside money for the initiative in the coming year.

Rabb and his staff may have done all of the legwork in Buffalo themselves, but a nonprofit organization in San Francisco has introduced an Internet-based application called ParkScan that allows the city to stay on top of maintenance and usage issues by inviting patrons to bring needs to the immediate attention of the city's parks staff. "There has been this idea that regular people can get involved in their city by tracking what improvements need to be made, Sunya Ojure, program manager for the Neighborhood Parks Council, told AB's Nicholas Brown in the magazine's latest issue. "It's all related to helping government by looping in citizens to be the stewards of public spaces."

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