February 25, 2009

Eau Claire, Wis. reducing playground programs

The Eau Claire, Wis. Leader-Telegram reports the following:

Many parents of Eau Claire children who take part in the city's summer playground program will have to drive their kids further or arrange for other transportation if they are going to take part in those activities this year.

The city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is reducing the number of playgrounds offering the summertime program from 16 to four in an effort to reduce annual costs from $100,000 to $40,000.

Unfortunately, this story is becoming all too common. What surprised me, though, was the almost-unanimous outrage among the people who commented on the article.

User acpokp said, "This is truely [sic] pathetic. I have lived in Eau Claire my whole life and college students have always taken these jobs at the benefit of the children who had great role models. Lets get those next generation of revenue producers involved with drugs and aalcohol [sic] so we can finish the 3rd jail phase and increase the prison population."

User jimbo_128 says, "The price tag of eliminating playground programs is far greater than the $60,000 'savings'. I volunteer my services to help save these programs. Obesity is such a problem with the disadvantaged children. They need to be outside playing,socializing,and learning skills that make them better human beings."

It's great to see so many people recognizing the importance of play, even in the face of dramatic budget cuts. What do you think?

the buzz in play, cuts, budget, parks, action