And there was kind of an insider mentality too — you had to know what programs were offered because nothing was ever publicized. No effort was made to draw people in. One woman called her local park to find out if a program was still being offered only to be told that the information was “confidential.”Forrest Claypool,, CEO, Chicago Parks district
Commmissioner Claypools statement seems rather off the wall, but I learned similar situations are not uncommon in Parks systems. Recreation equipment may be available but is not easy to find out that it exists.
-A local park has a $5,000 concrete ping pong table. Park Rangers do lend paddles for this table, but in discussing the table with several park rangers I learned that unless you explicitly ask to borrow the paddles, they do not discuss the fact that they have them to borrow.
I asked a neighbor what equipment would he like in the NYC park down the block from us. He said fitness equipment.I let him know there was a park with fitness equipment a few blocks away. He had no reason to go near there normally so had no idea the equipment he wanted was just blocks away.
Recently I visited Central Parks Chess and Checkers House
. From its name I thought it only was for chess and checkers. I had no idea you can also loan board games there.There are no signs saying anything about this equipment..I lived near Central Park for over 30 years and had no idea anything else was available there except chess and checkers sets.
If people have no knowledge of equipment availability, the equipment is useless.
Beyond offering recreation items at a library and a reading room in parks, for this to really work graphics linking the two locations and touting their offerings need to be set up.
Adding large colorful graphics to parks fences(above) and library walls will help get the word out and make sure community residents know this recreation equipment collection is available for loan
The above single colored fence banner is no where near as eye catching as the multi colored fence banner below
Estonia library, that lends sports equipment for use in parks
Cost of a Banner
A 3' x 4' banner as below cost just $27
This is a Unified Park Systems Map Listing all activities available at community parks. By hanging these up in local parks residents can learn what activities are available.
Community Advertising: Cross Promoting Libraries and Parks
My local library offers a good number of programs. Information on these is only available on the web and in the library . I talked to the head librarian at the local library, she wants to get the word out more about her branches programs, but unlike private organizations has no funds to advertise outside the library.
Our parks suffer a similar problem, their offerings are only posted on parks property. If you don't pass by a park, you have no idea what they are offering. Last year a local friends of the parks group placed flyers on city property advertising a movie in the park. . The NYC Sanitation department fined them almost $40,000,
Beyond cross promoting the loan of recreation equipment at libraries, how about our parks and libraries advertise each others other services at their locations.