A new report by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) looks at some of the new funding and operating models being adopted by public park and library systems across North America as fiscal pressures on city budgets increase.
Libraries offer literacy supports, business development resources, and places to gather and share ideas, while parks provide open space for city dwellers, venues for arts and cultural events, and a range of other social, economic, and environmental benefits. These shared public spaces play an important role in ensuring livable, prosperous cities. Yet, as local budgets become increasingly strained, funding decisions often prioritize other core spending areas such as policing and transit.
The report highlights the key themes from the Shared Spaces series of events held in Spring 2012. The series, supported by TD Bank Group, profiled some exciting new approaches to funding and managing parks and libraries that can inform civic discussions in Canada. For example,
- Philanthropic support and an innovative financing model including corporate sponsorships, tax increment financing, and earned revenues from concessions were critical success factors in the creation of Chicago’s Millennium Park; and
- The Free Library of Philadelphia is focusing on public-private funding models, as well as a renewed mandate that creates linkages with other local policy priorities, and positions the library as the lead municipal agency to support literacy development.
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