Private sector recreation has become a huge industry recently. Families are spending their vacations traveling to participate in their children’s sporting events. Spending thousands of dollars on travel, entry fees, equipment, and training. Private sports and health facilities are springing up. Specialty adventure sports are becoming popular. Boutique yoga and training facilities are growing. Active sports related restaurants who retail food and drink are growing. All these things are great… if you can afford them. BUT, these types of recreation should be seen as part of a spectrum of recreation.
The success of these private endeavors underscores the importance of public parks and recreation services. Public parks and green spaces are always high on the list of people considering a move to a new community. They provide low cost recreational opportunities, raise property values, and have great environmental benefits such as improved air quality, reduced flooding exposure and provide wildlife habitat. There are over 25 miles of hike and bike paths in our community. Few private organizations are lining up to provide these services. Intergovernmental cooperation in our community has shown remarkable results in providing high quality public spaces for our community.
The Derby Recreation Commission is committed to providing high quality recreational opportunities in a manner that private organizations simply can’t or won’t do. Private organizations generally target specific populations and profitable activities. The Derby Recreation Commission is providing high quality recreation opportunities for literally every member of our community. Many of these types of activities simply aren’t possible in a for profit model.
WE offer community services at little to no cost. The DRC maintains the Oaklawn Activity Center in an area where private recreational organizations haven’t approached. This service gives many children foundational educational and social support.
The DRC offers a wide variety of free and low cost special events that encourage everyone to come together as a community. We design fitness programs in a way that people of all ages and physical abilities can participate. We offers health and wellness education for prevention and management of chronic health conditions. We are also committed to the arts and will renew that commitment with the completion of the Hubbard Arts Center early in 2020.
While we set fees for services that are fair and reasonable, we are aware some in our community may not be able to afford them. For this reason the Commission is committed to a scholarship policy that will allow any citizen to participate regardless of ability to pay.
Public Parks and Recreation will always be vital to create vibrant communities with a wide spectrum of activities. Public recreation leads to better health outcomes, safer communities, better mental health, lower incidence of high risk behaviors and a sense of community belonging. For the good of our community and our nation we must be committed to public recreation so those services are available to all, regardless of socioeconomic status.