Parks and Recreation Division needs more money
Monday’s Cape Henlopen State Park restaurant public meeting was insightful. It exposed shared concerns, passions and goals for the park. We learned about the impressive long list of services and improvements planned across all state parks. And we were introduced to the elephant in the room – the Parks and Recreation Division’s capital budget shortfall.
My takeaway/recommendation is to use the shared passions and momentum of Monday’s meeting to work together to devise new revenue sources to solve the shortfall on a long-term basis. It’s time to provide Parks and Recreation with the sustained capital budget resources needed, so all can enjoy our state parks in perpetuity.
The new restaurant concept roused us up and brought us to a meeting, but a single restaurant is not the overarching capital budget solution. Raising entry, surf-fishing and special-use fees is not the solution, as this may make access too expensive for those on limited budget. Creating a state lottery is not available as a new source alternative because we already have a lottery. Increasing the property transfer tax another half or three-quarters of a point dedicated to the Parks and Recreation Division might suffice as a new revenue source and something for state legislators to consider. Similarly, we could follow Maryland’s example and legalize recreational marijuana to create a new revenue stream with proceeds directed to Parks and Recreation. Perhaps this is a joint venture to consider.