Welcome to Your Hour with APA Virginia Chapter sponsored by The Berkley Group. This is a free webinar series happening the fourth Monday of each month from Noon - 1 p.m. and is currently open to everyone, members and non-members. Members can receive 1 CM credit for watching live. All webinars are recorded and posted to our YouTube channel within 24 hours.
Interested in presenting? Contact Sarah Pentecost at email@example.com.
PARKnership: Building Community through Recreation and Parks
Monday, December 17, 2018
Noon - 1 p.m.
CM | 1 pending
Alexandrians have a strong sense of civic pride and desire to connect with their neighbors. This is most evident when individuals and groups work together to enhance the facilities and programs they enjoy. Whether it's through the dedication of time or monetary resources, when residents collaborate with the City they ultimately create a higher level of service and strengthen their connection to the community as a whole.
In 2016, the Park Planning division within the Alexandria Department Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) initiated the PARKnership Program to formally coordinate and cultivate its community partnerships, volunteers and support efforts under one umbrella. In its inaugural year, the PARKnership Program hired a PARKnership Manager, recorded 377 volunteers performing 16,833.30 hours of service, created 28 new partnerships (equaling over $210,000 of non-city funds for park and recreation facility improvements) and initiated an Adopt-a-Bench Ad Campaign in spring 2017 resulting in eight adopted in six months.
The program also initiated and implemented the Community Matching Fund to promote collaborative partnerships among City of Alexandria community organizations by providing matching 1:1 dollars for groups that propose fundraising for park and recreation improvement projects. This matching fund program has proven to be extremely popular and successful. The program distributed City funds for four projects in its first year and five projects in its second year. The projects range from converting a basketball court to a soccer court, installing water bottle filling stations, renovating a teen center, purchasing moveable equipment for pop-up playgrounds to building compost bins. The Fund fosters public/private partnerships and has influenced innovative ways for residents to have a greater stake in improving the park and recreation facilities that they use.
For this session, City staff will be joined by two FY17 matching fund recipients, Braddock Metro Citizens Association and the Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation, who will discuss their perspective on City/Community partnerships and the impact on public spaces.
Value of the session to practicing planning professionals: Often planners work with the community in a reactionary or defensive mode. The PARKnership program has shown a way to be proactive in building positive relationships with community members. When local government and the community work together they can shape our public spaces to reflect shared interests, uses, and values.
Many aspects of the PARKnership program, particularly the Community Matching Fund, are replicable in other jurisdictions and other planning departments.
Dana Wedeles, AICP, is Principal Planner with the City of Alexandria, VA. Dana manages community input, design, and implementation on projects related to improvements of existing public spaces and neighborhood parks. She also oversees the newly formed PARKnership Program that manages partnerships, sponsors, volunteers, and donations for the development, design, construction and operation of recreational and park facilities and/or programs in Alexandria.
Anh Tran, LEED AP BD+C is a Senior Associate at Little. With a background in anthropology, architecture, visual art and graphic design, Anh has dedicated her career to the integration of culture with the built environment. Her work in visioning, change management, ethnography, and analysis aids Little’s design teams in working with stakeholder and end-user groups to understand organizational culture, organize patterns of behavior, and create a dialogue about how their spaces reflect unique mission and purpose. Anh currently serves on several work groups and advisory committees in the City of Alexandria, as well as the board of her civic association in the hopes of building stronger communities through better design.
Abbey Oklak, AICP, is an urban and architectural designer with the national design firm Cooper Carry in their Alexandria office. She manages entitlement and large redevelopment / masterplan projects, while working with the planning studio on sector plans and community studies. Ms. Oklak is on the board of her neighborhood civic association – the Braddock Metro Citizens Coalition – as well as her local chapter for the Congress for New Urbanism.
Kevin Beekman is an economist living in Alexandria, Virginia whose work focuses on travel and transportation forecasting. Long an advocate of environmental issues, smart growth, and social justice. A member of the Four Mile Run Restoration Joint Task Force and co-founder of the Four Mile Run Farmers and Artisans Market, he is also the editor of the Arlandrian a blog about the long neglected cluster of neighborhoods between Del Ray, Arlington Ridge, Shirlington and Crystal City. Bounded by Glebe & Glebe, Rt 1 & Four Mile Run (where Arlington and Alexandria meet and try to get acquainted). Kevin is co-founder other Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and volunteer organization formed in 2016 following years of community efforts to foster the preservation, beautification, improvement, maintenance, and enjoyment of Four Mile Run Park and stream.