|Research & Innovations
Financial Sustainability – Use of Taxpayer Investment – Funding and Cost Recovery
One of the most challenging parts of running public agencies can be how to fund needed facilities and programs. GreenPlay consultants can help. Whether you need traditional or alternative funding mechanisms, we can help you plan for and obtain the financing you need.
If needed, we can evaluate your current resource allocation.
* Where’s the money going?
Possible types of funding:
* Traditional funding mechanisms (bonds, sales or property taxes, development fees, user fees, etc.)
GreenPlay has established and improved the “Pyramid” methodology for helping agencies create an overall philosophy and methodology for determining consensus on values, vision, mission, allocation of subsidy resources, pricing programs and evaluating expected cost recovery. This method is invaluable for creating cost recovery and prioritization strategies that are equitable, defensible and can be implemented at all levels. These are based on the “benefit” of the services to the community, not just a comparative evaluation of “what has been done before” or “what others are doing.”
It is an extension of “activity-based costing,” but takes the analysis further into assimilating the values accepted and defined by your community and elected officials. We explain and document the methodology and evaluate your agency’s current and potential methods for fair pricing and increased cost recovery.
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Alternative Funding & Partnerships
Dollars That Make Sense
Across the country we are seeing a trend for agencies to look outside the traditional funding mechanisms to the use of alternative funding and partnerships to fund improvements and programming for public agencies. GreenPlay has extensive experience in evaluating options for alternative funding that typically include grants, donor programs and/or partnerships. This may include partnerships with other business, governmental (Federal, state, school, nearby agencies, etc.), and/or non-profit agencies, along with creation of policies and evaluation processes to help determine if they might be a “good fit.” If desired, our firm can work to identify key partnership strategies to help support your community goals.
GreenPlay can help you identify key partners and analyze potentially viable community partnerships.
GreenPlay can identify strategies to address Public and Private Partnership opportunities and provide tools to facilitate partnerships and minimize risk.
GreenPlay can provide recommendations and sample documents used to formulate a Partnership Policy to streamline the partnership opportunities.
Composite-Values Based Level of Service (LOS) Analysis
The GRASP® Methodology
(Geo-Referenced Amenities Standards Program)
Public agencies typically analyze their existing parks,
Analyses of parks, open space, trails, and recreation systems determine how the current system effectively serves the community. Traditional level of service (LOS) analysis in master plans describes the capacity of the various components and facilities that make up the system to meet the needs of the public. The GreenPlay/Design Concepts team have adapted and built upon previous practices to create an improved approach using a “Composite Values Methodology” (CVM) for analysis.
CVM analysis considers other factors including quality, condition, location, comfort, convenience, and ambience. To create GRASP® inventory and analysis, parks, trails, recreation, open space, and other relevant amenities and properties are examined as part of an overall infrastructure for a community made up of various components.
The methodology inventories characteristics that are part of the context and setting of a component. They are not characteristics of the component itself, but when they exist in proximity to a component they enhance the value of the component.
GRASP® provides clear results, useful information, and stronger comparative data. This methodology was very difficult in years past, but with the capabilities of modern technology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) products, this evaluation process is now achievable, reliable, and cost efficient.
The GRASP® based LOS is accurate, dynamic, and can be uniquely implemented and benchmarked for an individual community.
The steps for GRASP® analysis typically include:
Determining the “relevant components” of the resource system for analysis.
• Rating all inventoried components – based on GreenPlay and staff rating consensus using a three-point basis: 3 = exceeds expectations for functionality and/or service for the next ten years; 2 = meet expectations for the next ten years; 1 = does not meet expectations (Sometimes we also use a zero or negative number to identify components that are unsafe, in immediate need of repair or replacement, or do not function as intended). We helped to create and always use the NRPA GIS Attribues and Standards as a baseline for digital inventorying, and build upon that for each community.
• Including modifiers for the ratings, for items like access, adjacency to restrooms or shade, condition, quality, location, ambience, etc.
Identifying the key issues of the plan based on the public process, needs assessment, alternative providers, demographics and trends analysis.
Creating analysis tools, spreadsheets, resource maps and analysis maps called “Perspectives“ to examine each of the key issues and the system overall.
• Looking at service of groupings of components from various perspectives (local use, regional use, active, passive, natural, etc.)
• Refining capacity and LOS standards that are appropriate for your community.
• Analyzing the system in relation to quality, availability, access (walkability, barrier analysis and transportation), and geographic distribution of services. Refining the resource classification system and resource development guidelines.
The GRASP® Methodology for Standards and Level-of Service Analysis is just one tool in the planning process, but it gives invaluable decision making information in digital and graphic form for determining appropriate standards, priorities, resource allocation, budgets, and work plans. The GRASP® based LOS is accurate, dynamic, is readily implemented, can be benchmarked, and is unique to an individual community.
Some specific outcomes of our GRASP® approach are:
• Using common GIS, it provides a better way of analyzing how any specific location, home or business is being served by community amenities. Today’s technology easily accomplishes what used to be an impossibly tedious task.
• It brings a qualitative component into the measurement of service that is not available with traditional capacity methods or just basic GIS mapping for LOS analysis.
• Rather than using an outdated classification system that relies on broad and ambiguous facilities categorization, it looks at individual components such as pools, gymnasiums, utilities systems, street types, and/or other community amenities, and then measures the service that each component provides to the neighborhood and the community.
• Components can be readily evaluated and easily displayed graphically to quickly identify gaps in service on a neighborhood, community and/or regional basis. The methodology also allows population density factors to be combined into the traditional LOS equations.
The GRASP® LOS approach can be incorporated into mapping and tabular information that become management tools. The methodologies provide clearly comprehended information that helps guide decision makers and is also easily understood by the general public.
The National Recreation and Parks Association has used GRASP ® for their internal inventory and assessment purposes, and it has been validated and tested with over 75 communities nationwide. We know it works!
GP Research Education and Development
GreenPlay staff are considered experts in research and management in the fields of parks, recreation, open space and other quality of life organizations. Some Senior GP staff worked with many others to found the non-profit, GP RED. Senior staff are often asked to speak, facilitate, present and teach at a variety of local, state and national agencies and associations. Additional information and current topics are available upon request.
The Mission of GP RED is to facilitate the creation of innovative, practical management tools and strategies intended to enhance and promote parks and recreation industries through research, development, and education.
For more information, please log onto http://www.gpred.org.