Archive for Thursday, January 11, 2007

Parks and rec commitments invest in community

January 11, 2007

It became obvious two years ago during the controversy over Bobby Arnold's retention as Eudora Parks and Recreation Director that many residents of the city have direct emotional ties with the department he headed. It would be fair to speculate that the closest personal connections many residents of Eudora have with the city is with the recreation department. That is especially true of those young families who have moved to Eudora in great numbers in the past decade.

The city provides its residents police and fire protection, emergency medical service, electrical power, water and sewer and streets to navigate the city. For the most part, those services are delivered in an impersonal way, and many residents could go years without need of those protective services that require a human touch.

Parks and recreation is different. At bottom, participation in recreation activities involves a social element. That is especially true of the youth sports, which also connects the families of those playing. Parks encourage residents to get out of their homes and interact with neighbors.

With that understanding, recent developments in Eudora are encouraging. The most obvious of those are the pool and new recreation center now under construction, but also the parks improvements Eudora Parks and Recreation director Tammy Hodges won approval to pursue and the Eudora City Council's decision to employ what will amount to a parks maintenance director. That position should allow Hodges to give more attention to the expanded recreation activities she wants to offer the community.

The investment in the parks and recreation department will not only improve the quality of life in Eudora but pays dividends in building community that other city expenditures can't match.

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