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PageTest: 2.1 How to Develop Community and Neighborhood Parks

  • Overview
  • Potential Resources
  • Examples
  • References
  • Neighborhood and community parks improve physical and psychological health, enhance social interaction, and make neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work. Numerous studies have also shown that parks increase property values, reduce crime, and improve air and water quality.

    The County of San Bernardino builds, maintains, and operates regional parks, but does not have the financial resources to build and maintain community or neighborhood parks. Community and neighborhood parks are amenities that are generally provided within incorporated cities and/or master planned communities that have a homeowners� association. However, residents of unincorporated communities can develop and maintain a network of community and neighborhood parks by establishing a special district.

    A special district is a legal entity authorized under California law to provide a special service to a neighborhood or local community. The service is funded by an additional property tax assessment levied on all properties within the district�s boundaries.

    Recommended Actions for Citizens and Community Groups

    How to Establish a Special District provides recommended steps for citizens and community groups that are interested in establishing a special district.

    County Staff and County Partners that Can Provide Assistance

    The following County Departments and County partners can provide additional assistance related to community and neighborhood parks:

    � San Bernardino County, Special Districts Department
    157 West 5th Street, 2nd Floor San Bernardino, CA 92415-0450 909-387-5940

    � Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino County
    215 North D Street, Suite 204 San Bernardino, CA 92415-0490 909-383-9900

  • Local citizens and community organizations that want to develop and maintain community and neighborhood parks will need to raise money to promote and raise support for the effort, and to pay for start-up expenses related to forming a special district. Potential funding resources may include:

    � Local businesses
    � Local citizens
    � Local civic and fraternal organizations (Lions Club, Rotary Club, religious organizations, etc.)
    � Foundations and philanthropists

    In addition, grant and technical assistant programs should be pursued through the following organizations:

    � The Trust for Public Land
    101 Montgomery Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA 94104 415-495-4014 or 1-800-714-LAND info@tpl.org

    � National Recreation and Park District
    22377 Belmont Ridge Road Ashburn, VA 20148-4501 800-626-6772 customerservice@nrpa.org

    � California Department of Parks and Recreation
    1416 9th Street Sacramento, CA 95814 800-777-0369 info@parks.ca.gov

    � GrantHelpers.com: Parks and Recreation Grant Opportunities
    701 Devonshire Drive, C-25 Champaign, IL 61820 217-487-2395 TGH@TheGrantHelpers.com

  • Several park and recreation districts have been established for unincorporated communities in San Bernardino County. The following links provide information about these special districts:

    � Bloomington Recreation and Parks District
    � Big Bear Parks and Recreation District
    � Joshua Tree Recreation and Parks District
    � Lucerne Valley Parks and Recreation
    � Oro Grande County Service Area 42
    � Wrightwood Park and Recreation District
    � Oak Glen Schoolhouse Museum and Park
    � Wonder Valley County Service Area 70M
    � El Mirage County Service Area (CSA) 70, Improvement Zone P-6
    � Hinkley: County Service Area (CSA) 70, Improvement Zone W
    � Lake Arrowhead: Mackay Park
    � Rim of the World Recreation and Park District

  • The following resources provide additional information related to parks and special districts:

    � Local Agency Formation Commission for San Bernardino County
    � San Bernardino County, Special Districts Department
    � California Special Districts Association
    � California Association of Recreation and Park Districts

    References in the Digital Library

    � What�s So Special About Special Districts, A Citizens Guide to California�s Special Districts, Senate Local Government Committee, October 2010.

    � The Benefits of Parks: Why America Needs More City Parks and Open Space, The Trust for Public Land, 2003.