Q&A 2004

We polled parks and recreation professionals from around the country for our annual Q&A feature and got some interesting responses, representing a diversity of subjects and opinions.

It’s our hope that you learn something of value and find a nugget of insight, inspiration or raw information. Or better yet, all of the above…

Special thanks to all those who provided answers this year. They’re the cream of the crop in parks and recreation. If you get a chance, let them know that their contributions are appreciated.

Next year, we’ll continue to expand on this concept but need your participation. Do you have a question that crops up a lot, and you don’t have a good answer?

Whether you have questions or have some great answers to the challenges of running a parks and recreation department, we’d like to hear from you.

Send us an e-mail at editor@northstarpubs.com, give us a call at (830) 257-1012, fax us at (830) 257-1020 or go to www.parksandrecbusiness.com.

Q: Do you have a process for the selection of modular playground equipment that you would like to share?

A: Yes, we have a system in our department that involves a request for proposal that informs the various playground equipment vendors of exactly how much money we have to spend on a 2-5, 5-12 or 2-12 age play structure.

Our request for this RFP includes what amenities on a play structure we do and don’t want included; a top view and three dimensional diagrams/drawings being required; a requirement to submit proposals that meet the latest CPSC, ASTM and ADA guidelines and standards; pricing for various types of safety surfacing; installation costs; and most important, the description of the rating scale to be used in awarding what vendor will receive the RFP.

The rating scale used for evaluating the proposals includes a weighted scale with various points awarded in the following areas: play value, layout/design, overall impression, safety/risk management, maintenance and warranty.

Points are awarded on a five-point scale for each of these items with various “importance” points also assigned for each item. The vendor with the highest number of total points will be awarded the proposal. All vendors are sent the results of the final point rankings.

I feel this system is a simple and fair process for awarding proposals. I have received favorable comments from the vendors in our state that represent the various equipment companies that this is a fair process which concentrates on getting the most bang for the buck. Our city’s Common Council also feels good with this system of awarding equipment and has approved every recommendation it has been presented with.

Over 25 playgrounds with four different equipment companies being chosen have been awarded with this system that is constantly being revised. If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of our RFP system, please contact me. I do ask that anyone using it make adaptations for their local department’s benefit.

–Bob Holling is the Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry for the City of Sun Prairie, Wis. For further questions, Bob can be reached at rholling@cityofsunprairie.com

Q: How do you stay on the cutting edge of programming and special events?

A: The City of Gaithersburg makes every attempt to be on the cutting edge of programs and special events! We hold an annual Local Entertainer Auditions & Presentations (LEAP) one-day event at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn that is hosted by the City’s Cultural Arts Advisory Committee and the Arts and Special Events division of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture.

This is advertised in the local newspaper and on the City’s Web site. Entertainers schedule an appointment on this day for five or ten minutes, depending on their performance.

The City of Gaithersburg invites all City employees who “book” entertainers, as well as surrounding local municipalities, the county recreation department and various non profit and private organizations.

Following a performance, an entertainer can be scheduled with any staff member for one or a variety of performances at any organization for the upcoming calendar year. In October of 2004, 40 performed on this day!

The City of Gaithersburg also meets two times per year with neighboring local governments, the City of Rockville, Takoma Park, Montgomery County, and Montgomery Village Foundation departments of recreation.

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