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To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing to you today to share my concerns about the management of resources since Parks and Rec took over for the Fairmount Park Commission. I write to you as a long-term board member of the Fairmount Soccer Association, including President of the Board of Directors for the last 8 years. I have also been involved at the coaching
and board management level of several other youth sports organizations over the last two decades, so I have seen the difference an independent community organization and a city agency can do when working in partnership. Fairmount Soccer Association is a long-standing steward of park land in East Fairmount Park and provides programming
and services to the children of approximately 650 of tax-paying city residents.
We are now very concerned because the of the lack of services provided to decades old programming that serves the children of our communities. While we have been forever frustrated by the lack of resources dedicated to the playing fields in East Fairmount Park, we had overcome many of the challenges by providing those services ourselves, such as renting porta-potties when the city stopped servicing the public restrooms at Edgley field and purchasing our own equipment when the city soccer goals that were decades old finally became unusable. We have done so because we recognize that in a city that is poor and with a city government that is underfunded, we must make do without excuse because our children, and our future, depend on us to persevere.
Our volunteer run organization, along with our soccer partners at United Philly Soccer, have provided thousands of children a community-based soccer experience with professional level coaching for decades, and has recently been training many players who have populated multiple public league high school soccer teams. Our mission is to provide experiences and opportunity to as many of our vulnerable youth as possible, for as long as possible. We believe we are having success at this mission.
However, we are concerned that the lack of good management practices and lack of community engagement by the Parks and Rec bureaucracy has put our future programming at risk. We have been unable to secure timely permitting for our fields the last few years despite decades of use at the same time and fields and permit history. We have observed that long standing commitments to other non-profit sports organizations who have put their own resources into under-resourced areas have been cast aside without much regard to public input. We are concerned that the centralization of the permitting process at best leads to confusion about how, when and where permits can be obtained; and at worst leads to suspicion that our long partnership and stewardship of our playing fields is being threatened by some political decision-making process which to which we are not privy.
- Stephen Moosbrugger. President, Fairmount Soccer
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