The Neighborhood Parks Council held its annual Meeting with the Mayor on Thursday, June 24, 2010. Representatives from NPC, the Recreation and Park Department and various parks groups met with Mayor Gavin Newsom in City Hall. NPC Executive Director Meredith Thomas opened the meeting with some remarks on the current state of parks, including this past year’s successes and challenges. She introduced the Mayor, RPD General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and RPD Commissioner Mark Buell.
These introductions were followed by brief comments addressed to the Mayor from community representatives. Lisa Ghotbi spoke on behalf of the NPC Steering Committee, followed by Steering Committee Member Bill Weil, and Crystal Van Wallstrom of Dolores Park Works. Kate Scanlan of the Friends of Mountain Lake Park spoke about sustainability in San Francisco’s parks. Sarah Davis of Mission Bay Families addressed open space planning and Juan Carlos Cancino of the Greenhouse Project discussed urban agriculture.
These initial remarks were followed by a question and answer session Attendees had the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to the Mayor. Audience members asked questions both specific and general about their parks and needed improvements, most of which came down to an increasingly tight budget. As Ginsburg gave enthusiastic answers, Mayor Newsom quietly took notes and
cracked a few jokes while finishing off a giant cup of coffee.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor Newsom used his notes to address each of the questions asked. He praised the improvements already made and was frank about current budgetary limitations facing the Recreation and Park Department.
The annual Meeting with the Mayor is an opportunity for the
NPC to keep San Francisco’s parks on the civic radar, and allow park stakeholders the opportunity to hear directly from the Mayor on the current status of the City’s parks and plans for the year ahead.
One key action item that we will be following-up on immediately was the agreement of the RPD Commission to work with NPC to hold quarterly park town halls to increase public input on items to go before Commissioners. We hope to have the first town hall this fall.
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