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§ 5-600. Functions. 133
The Department of Parks and Recreation shall have the power and its duty shall be to perform the following functions:
(a) Coordinated Recreational Program. It shall from time to time formulate a comprehensive and coordinated program of cultural and physical recreational activities to be instituted and conducted in all City recreational facilities.
(b) Conduct of Recreational Program. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, the Department shall institute and conduct all recreational activities in accordance with its recreational program.
(c) Park and Recreational Facilities. Except as otherwise provided in this Chapter, the Department shall manage and operate all City recreational facilities and all parks and public squares, and itself, or by contract, construct, maintain, improve and repair such facilities, parks and squares. The Department shall determine the location of new park and recreational facilities. This paragraph shall not apply to City facilities managed and operated by private corporations or privately owned facilities supported in whole or in part by funds appropriated from the City Treasury but all requests for appropriations from the City Treasury for such City or private facilities shall be made through the Department.
(d) Historical Shrines. The Department shall preserve, manage and operate City historical shrines not under the management and operation of any board or commission and make plans for the acquisition by the City of buildings and grounds of historical significance to the City.
(e) Fairmount Park System and Other Parks. The Department shall, subject to the provisions of this charter, exercise all the powers and perform all the duties that, at the time this subsection was added to this charter, were vested in and imposed upon the Fairmount Park Commission by statute or ordinance, except that the Department of Streets shall itself, or by contract, build, rebuild and maintain the roads and drives in Fairmount Park and make such regulations governing traffic thereon as shall be authorized by statute or ordinance, but the Department of Parks and Recreation shall determine the location and type of all such roads and drives, and may exclude certain types of vehicles from the use of any or all such roads or drives.
(f) Deputy Commissioners. The Parks and Recreation Commissioner shall appoint two deputies exempt from civil service who shall serve, respectively, as Deputy Commissioner for Recreation and Deputy Commissioner for Parks and who, subject to the direction of the Commissioner, shall have principal responsibility for carrying out the Department's duties relating to the management and operation of, respectively, the City's recreation programs; and the City's parks, including the Fairmount Park System.
(g) Sale, Conveyance and Acquisition of Park and Recreation Land or Facilities. Immediately upon introduction into Council of any ordinance authorizing the City to acquire, convey or lease to a third party any interest in real estate that includes park or recreation land or facilities, the Chief Clerk of Council shall submit it to the Commission on Parks and Recreation for its recommendation to the Mayor and the Council.
Law Department Note (2009): Department of Recreation was reconstituted by amendment approved November 4, 2008. See Footnote to this section.
Sources: Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article VIII, Section 3.
Purposes: 1. Recreation was a function of the Department of Public Welfare under the 1919 Charter. It is made a function of a separate department under this Charter because of its importance to the welfare of the people of the City, the unsatisfactory experience under the 1919 Charter, and the absence of any relationship between recreational and institutional and public assistance functions.
2. Recreation in the City is a function of the Board of Public Education, the Fairmount Park Commission and the City department vested with that function. An integrated City-wide recreational program would require the complete coordination of the recreational activities of the three agencies. The Charter Commission did not have any power to deal with the Board of Education. It did have such power in the case of the Fairmount Park Commission. Therefore, the Department of Recreation is empowered to formulate a comprehensive and coordinated recreational program to control recreational activities conducted in all City recreational facilities including those in Fairmount Park.
3. Conduct of the recreational program is the responsibility of the Department of Recreation except that the Fairmount Park Commission will conduct that part of the program which involves recreational facilities managed and operated by it. This exception is made because the main objective to be achieved is that of a coordinated program and that goal will be attained by the requirement that the Department shall establish a program and that it shall be binding upon the Fairmount Park Commission. It was not deemed practicable, in view of the extensive jurisdiction of the Fairmount Park Commission over park facilities, to vest the conduct of the program in park facilities in the Department.
4. The Department of Recreation is vested with the management and operation of all City recreational facilities other than those in Fairmount Park and other City parks managed and operated by the Fairmount Park Commission. Such park recreational facilities are to be managed and operated by the Commission. However, the location of new recreational facilities in parks under the jurisdiction of the Commission is to be jointly determined by the Commission and the Department. This will insure the implementation of the recreational program determined by the Department and the meeting of the recreational needs of the people of the City. Parks and public squares not managed and operated by the Fairmount Park Commission are to be operated and managed by the Department of Recreation because such parks and squares are important recreational facilities. Recreational facilities managed and operated by private corporations or privately owned are to continue under private management and operation or ownership even though they are supported in whole or in part by City funds. They are adequately managed and operated and those privately owned, the Charter Commission could not authorize the City to take over under its powers. However, a measure of control is retained by the City to the extent that appropriations are received from the City, for all requests for such appropriations must be channeled through the Department of Recreation.
5. The Department is vested with a new function of managing and operating City historical shrines and of historical shrine planning. The City of Independence has many shrines of historical significance which are being neglected. Vesting this function in the Department should assure appropriate attention being paid to the acquisition of shrines not now owned by the City and to the more adequate care of such shrines as are owned by the City. Excepted from theses provisions are shrines which are managed and operated by a specific board or commission, such as the American Flag House and Betsy Ross Memorial.