Ready? That Fancy Metro Parks Review Is Out

The Metro Parks review is out and it’s time to dig in.

First, here are the review committee members:

  • Larry Cashen — Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs
  • Jim Beckett — CBDO, Frost Brown Todd
  • Tanisha Hackett — Internal Auditor, University of Louisville
  • Barbara Kalkhof — Internal Auditor (ret.), Louisville Metro Government
  • Ingram Quick — Internal Auditor, Louisville Metro Government
  • Jim Wood — CEO, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau

The highlights:

  • Parks is underfunded. Apparently, the city only spends $34 per resident. $56 per is the average of the 100 most populous cities.
  • The report recommends hiring a development director to increase revenue and to spend more money marketing the parks

Some highlighted excerpts:

  • There appears to be some tension, jealousy, and misunderstanding between the various divisions of Parks and, more importantly, between some managers within a division. We did not attempt to investigate or determine the root cause. We do suggest that Parks take advantage of the Team Building Program by the training division of Metro Government. All managers should be required to attend.
  • Certain parks are deemed not safe for children and young adults to visit alone or even in small groups. We understand this is more of a neighborhood problem than necessarily a parks safety issue.

On labor relations:

We interviewed the Metro Parks Union Representative (MPUR), who works in Parks’ maintenance division. He has been a full-time employee (or, “FTE”) for nine years. He started as a summer intern or seasonal employee. He has served on the Union Executive Board for several years and has been a Union Steward for 18 months.

The MPUR describes relations between union employees and Parks as very good. Parks’ Administration advised us that they meet monthly with a labor relations representative. We think Parks should continue this policy.

HAHAHA. Right.

The only real thing the report suggested that’s worth anything is that there’s a complete lack of communication throughout Parks. The rest is just… a waste of 59 pages.

Not a mention of the Heitz scandal, obviously.

Feel free to click here (Warning: PDF Link) to download and review the report for yourself.

12 thoughts on “Ready? That Fancy Metro Parks Review Is Out

  1. Given the tremendous drain of the State on Louisville’s resources it is understandable that our city lags behind in park funding. The only way Louisville will have adequate resource to compete in the 21st century is through a significant source of non-local tax revenue. Louisville’s leadership must demand Louisville specific wagering laws.

  2. Parks does better at new projects (capital improvements), but is SORELY lacking funding to adequately maintain either the new projects or the existing. It’s very sad, given how much our parks are used by a significant percentage of our population.

    The plan to replace the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion (budgeted in 2010 at $400,000) could be completely avoided if the existing pavilion were restored. The cost to reroof it? About $75,000…and our grassroots group has $45,000 for them right now. The remaining restoration work, for this historical landmark, would never come close to the $400,000 to replace it…nor would it do as much damage to the surround trees.

    Wishing that the City could see what a huge financial advantage (among a host of other good reasons) it is to restore and preserve this structure.

  3. Tammy isn’t Mike Heitz and his crew now claiming the roofing tiles on the Hogan’s Fountain Pavilion are full of Asbestos ? saying it’s going to require more money and studies. I would also like to see the detailed report on why it cost $125.000 to build a cyclocross track at Eva Bandman. I’m pretty sure this job was done in house using parks management labor as well as a few rank and file employee’s. ($125.000 how much of this was overtime?) it’s on youtube. just search Eva Bandman cyclocross track.

  4. I read the entire report and am still digesting it. Some things are obvious – the maintenance (or lack of it) issue, for example. But I was particularly interested in the comments about having “park rangers.” I think it is an excellent idea, and long overdue – but there seems to be the idea that they can’t be sworn – or that if they are sworn, they have to be LMPD officers? That isn’t the case, but Metro seems to be so locked into the way things have always been done. There is absolutely NO REASON why they can’t swear them in as what are called special police – that is how the mayor’s bodyguards are sworn in. And, for reasons I can’t explain, how the Southern Baptist Seminary police force is sworn in too. (And they shouldn’t be, they should be required to have their own private police force as special local peace officers – but that was probably done back channel without anyone really knowing about it.)

  5. 125K for the amount of work done at Eva Bandman is pretty minimal. I would bet that a contractor doing that kind of work would have charged ten times that much.

    One thing is clear. The city needs a better video technician. Those two videos were poorly shot and the sound quality was awful.

  6. The city had park rangers (and yes, they were sworn officers) until the department was dismantled by – wait for it – Jerry Abramson.

    SBS officers only have police powers on SBS property. Almost all of them are retired LMPD.
    They are security, not police.

  7. They are special police -which means they have whatever powers fischer gives them and i doubt they limited them. They may choose to exercise those powers in a limited way but they do have the powers. They even say that is how they are sworn when they post the position for hiring. They should be required to be slpo though

  8. Studs I would still love to see the details on the $125.000 cyclocross track. I disagree with it costing that much with parks using in house labor and equipment.

  9. It really torqued me when I found out that the SBS police were sworn in as special police under KRS 95 – which gives that power to the Safety Director (which best I can tell, we don’t have) to swear in just anyone at all. They listed it in the job description, that’s how I found out about it, when a friend applied there. (He didn’t know what it meant.) I seriously doubt that anyone neogiated any limitation of the powers, maybe a handshake agreement, but nothing in writing so they have county wide jurisdiction, just like the mayor’s bodyguards – who are sworn under the same section. They should not be sworn under the city at all, they should be Special Local Peace Officers – which is the category for private police working for private entities. If something happens and they get sued, the city will be in the position of defending the actions of employees of a private religious organization.

  10. While it sounds like the Parks audit was reasonably fair, although no real surprises, I question how any of the auditors really know about park operations. One problem is that using park facilities is expensive and a pain, I’ve tried several times to schedule an event at one and the price and the hassle just wasn’t worth it. (When you are scheduling a public event for which no money will be made, paying for the space is simply not doable.)

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