City Park Facts - Spending

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The financial figures are separated into two categories: operational spending and capital spending. Definitions for the items included in each category are below.

Operational Spending

1. Landscape and Tree Maintenance
This includes items like mowing, pruning, trimming, cutting, planting, fertilizing, irrigating, raking, etc.

2. All Other Maintenance Tasks
This includes everything else, like trash and graffiti removal, restroom maintenance, fountain maintenance, roadway sweeping, normal repairs, etc.

3. Recreational Programming
This includes all people-oriented activities such as sports, lessons, crafts, outings, lunch programs, fairs, etc.

4. Administration
This includes all items, such as central staff salaries, policing, and utilities that are spread across multiple programs and cannot be specifically cost accounted to park maintenance or recreation programming.

5. Debt Service
Funds spent out of the agency's budget to make payments on debt from previous years.

Capital Spending

6. Capital Improvements
Improvements paid for out of the capital budget rather than the operating budget.

7. Land Acquisition
Funds spent out of the agency's budget to purchase parkland.

The spending reports include salaries. We omit any spending on zoos, museums, aquariums, professional sports stadiums, or cemeteries, if applicable. We exclude these items because not every city has them and they are often privately run. However, we do include spending on any golf, marina, and parking operations. Also, we only include spending on facilities and programs from within the city limits, not any outlying parks, even if the park system extends past the official city boundaries.

Total Spending on Parks and Recreation per Resident by City
Operational Spending on Parks and Recreation per Resident by City
Capital Spending per Resident by City
Total Spending on Parks and Recreation per Resident by Major City Agency
Total Spending on Parks and Recreation per Resident, by City and Agency

 
Grant Park Gardens, Chicago. Credit: Richie Diesterheft (Flickr Feed).