Blog: Bryan Farmer

Did you know that parks and open space comprise 38 percent of London's footprint? Successful cities know green means a better quality of life and a healthier population. Bryan Farmer, recreation superintendent for the city of Farmington Hills, blogs about next week's No Child Left Inside Summit and the city's commitment to outdoor programming.

Post 3: Recreation - What's Your Definition?

Many people interpret the word "recreation" to mean sports.  Hopefully you think otherwise.  The wide array of recreation offerings encompass a lot more than just sports.  For example, the Farmington Hills/Farmington Mayor's Youth Council (made up of high school students) falls under the auspice of recreation.  Since 2002, thousands of high school age youth have attended the Michigan Youth Symposium, where Youth Councils from across Michigan meet together to network and enhance Michigan's communities while learning leadership skills and sharing ideas.  Many of these Youth Council members will one day become our community's leaders.  Thanks to recreation, we are getting a head start on developing those future leaders. The 2010 Michigan Youth Symposium takes place March 26-28, 2010 in Taylor, Michigan.

Studies have shown that recreation programs/facilities have a positive impact on crime deterrence, particularly through programs targeting out-of-school youth between 3 and 6 p.m.  By deterring crime, recreation offerings help reduce the costs related to crime and also make a community safer.

Research has proven that parks and open spaces have a positive effect on real estate values of neighboring residential properties, thereby supporting the tax base of the community.  Research has also shown that recreation provides a strong economic impact to businesses in communities.  For example, over one million people visit Founders Sports Park in Farmington Hills each year for baseball tournaments, soccer games, hockey, figure skating, skateboarding, events, and programs. 

When people visit Founders Sports Park for an activity, they often eat or shop while in town.  Without Founders Sports Park, those people wouldn't be eating and shopping in Farmington Hills.  We have created many ways that businesses can benefit through a partnership with Special Services, such as a brick court business directory, kiosk space in facilities, names on shirts, booth space at events, names on brochures and flyers, and people being brought directly to a business.

Through partnerships, Special Services determine the needs of the community and the businesses, then strive to meet those needs. If we can help businesses in Farmington Hills, they can help us.  Businesses and the people of Farmington Hills and Farmington believe in recreation.  In the last four years, Farmington Hills Special Services has partnered with well over 200 different businesses.  Each year, approximately 25,000 people in Farmington Hills participate in a program through the Recreation Division.   

It makes sense when we say: Recreation creates community through people, parks, and programs.