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Call to action: Hillsborough County parks

943 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  billee
Not sure how many are aware of this, but the all wise ones managing the County are talking of closing our parks a lot. I dont consider this OT at all- I know a great many of us that use these parks as primary training grounds.

How much is a lot? Try 2-4 days a week 9am to 6 pm. Want to trail run after work? Too bad. Ride around Flatwoods before work? Gates are going to be closed.

The only thing to stop this is to speak out and be heard. So make sure all your training buddies know, the people at work that power walk, inline skaters, triathletes, horse riders, everyone.

The County is indeed facing a tough economic situation. But instead of cutting the upper end of the salary scale, they've decided to eliminate the workers that make the parks go round, and close the parks to compensate. I saw a list of proposed cuts today- HALF of the park rangers in the county, and ONE general manager. This leaves almost intact a many layer bureaucracy with General Managers making $69,000 to over $115,000 in exchange for workers who salaries top out at $35k after over 25 years of service.

Let our voices be heard, and let them know that the public will not stand to bullied and conned- your county commissioners, county administrator, and parks director can all be contacted by phone and email at links provided below:
County Administrator-
County Commissioners-
Parks Director-

Save our Parks!
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I'm not trying to be a douchebag, I'm legitimately curious, but where did you see this? I tried searching for a news article and nothing came up. Thanks.
There is a sign up at Flatwoods that hints of hours of operation change in October. The County has someone in the Tribune, thats why these things come up in the Times first. There was never a public announcement or press release about this. Trust me, the threat is very real- I would not play with this, it's not how I roll.
I am more concerned about them cutting law enforcement and other ESSENTIAL SERVICES. However, it is a decent place to get and bang out some miles in the sand and I am sure it will be missed by some. So, for those that feel like having your voice heard regarding this matter, here is some spam that someone e-mailed to me.

The first public meeting regarding the proposed budget for Hillsborough County for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2009 was last Tuesday (June 9).

Because of the huge attendance, people were directed to the 26th Floor where they could participate via monitors and video-audio feed to the 2nd Floor Board Room. It was an impassioned crowd and they applauded loudly (sometimes rowdily) each speaker's point. Speakers presented comments for 2 minutes each until 9 pm.

Several groups were organized and signed up early to speak (first come, first speak). Most represented were people supporting Office of Child Licensing (which is slated
to be closed), after-school programs (Parks and Recreation), and Animal Services. Two speakers provided input regarding closures of regional parks, including comments by Jennifer Hollowell (SWAMP). Of all the speakers only three, including Jennifer, specifically spoke about how County Commissioners need to explore other ways to generate revenue. Many spoke about the need to cut upperlevel administrators instead of people who deal directly with the public. Jennifer commented directly on the revenue generating potential of regional parks (parking fees, camping fees, canoe rentals, passes etc.) to off set the decrease in tax revenue.

Given the economic situation and the unlikelihood of an big influx of tax money, finding other ways to generate revenue might be critical to keeping the regional parks open without a huge reduction of services. Next year, more cuts will come. Because the County does not own Wilderness (Flatwoods, Morris Bridge, Trout Creek) or Edward Medard Park, these parks would be closed before others as a result of next year's round of cuts.

If you have comments or suggestions, there are several avenues for public input.

Email: [email protected]
Call: (813) 307-8337.
Attend: BOCC BOARD ROOM, 601 Kennedy Boulevard, County Center at 6 pm on the following dates:
July 16, 2009
September 9, 2009
September 17, 2009
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Here is the proposed cuts (the watered down version) for this next fiscal year. Parks department information starts on page 7. The 8th item under Parks and Recreation is "Closing Regional Parks two days a week." 8 spots below that is "Reduce Regional Parks operations" which is 35 staff members. Those are your Rangers.
Any updated information on this? I wrote my commissioner urging him to support the parks but I didn't get any reply.
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