By Leonard Gilroy
In the grand scheme, state parks are an amenity that generally falls lower on the state’s priority list than education, health care, and corrections. Hence, parks often become political footballs in fights over spending reductions, which tends to result in parks being left alive but far from fiscally healthy or properly maintained.
A recent proposal in Arizona to lease state parks to private concessionaires offers a restructuring model states should consider as they contemplate solutions to ensure the long-term fiscal sustainability of state parks.
Members of City Council on Tuesday urged Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to end his bid to privatize parking assets to shore up the city's ailing pension fund, even as they introduced legislation to sell some assets to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
TODAYS TAKE: Eastern Mountain Sports, the outdoor clothing and apparel manufacturer, soon could be promoting New Hampshire state parks in its stores. New Hampshire is considering an agreement to do its own promoting in exchange, such as having all state park staff wear the companys logo on their uniforms. Its the latest example of a growing commercial state park footprint.
The news that Pittsburgh had a bidder willing to pay $452 million now to operate its parking facilities for the next 50 years “blew away” the city’s pro-lease mayor, Luke Ravenstahl. But it apparently has barely rated a shrug of the shoulders in Harrisburg, where many observers still rate the nearly 10,000 publicly controlled parking spaces as the city’s...