Recreation commission gets national nod (again)

Posted at 4:31 PM, Sep 18, 2015

CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Recreation Commission has been reassured that it's doing things right, and has been for quite some time.

City Manager Harry Black announced Friday afternoon that the Cincinnati Recreation Commission retained its national accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies and the National Recreation and Park Association.

The commission’s 2015 accreditation marks its 10th consecutive year earning the distinction, and the CRC, founded in 1927, was the first agency in Ohio to receive the recognition.

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“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” Black said in a statement released Friday. “This…highlights the fact that the (CRC) provides a great product to our community.”

CAPRA is the only national accreditation for parks and recreation agencies. According to Black, accreditation requires that an agency complies with over 150 recognized standards and thoroughly documents all commission policies and procedures.

Interim Director of Recreation Steve Pacella called the accreditation the result of a constant effort that wouldn’t be possible without support from City Hall.

An example of such support came last month, specifically geared toward enhancing the city's parks, when City Council unanimously agreed to put a proposed $5.5 million one-mill annual tax levy before voters in November. Tax revenue generated from the levy would go into maintaining and expanding facilities and services throughout the city’s nearly 50 parks and green spaces.

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The tax would equate to $35 per year on a $100,000 home.

Support of the tax levy throughout the community has received wide but not unanimous support. Some worry that the tax levy — which would come in the form of an amendment to the city charter — is too broad and grants too much mayoral authority over parks projects.

The recreation commission was also a pivotal component in former police chief Jeffrey Blackwell's summer safety plan to reduce crime and violence throughout the city, launched earlier this year. The plan included procedures to make "safe zones" at parks, playgrounds and pools — places where kids, families and teens could congregate over the summer months.

It also initially called for various recreation centers throughout the city to serve as youth curfew drop-off points, but this element was later abandoned.