Rec and Park to take cue from NYC to raise money

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is may become more entrepreneurial to offset The City’s projected $522 million budget deficit, instead of making cutbacks.

After visiting the East Coast for the Thanksgiving holiday, Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg told commissioners at their regular meeting it was “truly amazing to see the renaissance of parks in open space.’’

Ginsburg estimated that New York City's parks department is about three times the size of The City’s, but NYC's open space budget is roughly six times higher at $650 million compared to our $115 million.

He told commissioners in order to fight the deficit, the Rec and Park department has to make more money.

“It’s got to be through revenue growth. We need to become much more entrepreneurial about how we’re bringing money to this department,’’ he said.

New York City apparently has two teams totaling in about 70 people who work on making partnerships and gaining revenue while The City has about 3.5, he said.

He was also encouraged by how open they are about corporate sponsorship and naming opportunities.

The next biggest money-makers for open space is a “Peter Pan” production at Bierman Park that will generate about $400,000 for Rec and Park.

He pointed out how a single employee made that deal.

“I think we need to begin to focus on how we're going to meet our budgetary targets through growth and through bringing in more revenue to this department so that we don't need to cut our staff and we don't need to reduce services or increase permits. It was a really profound visit,’’ he said.

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