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A Comparative Analysis of Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and South Dakota Park Districts and Parks and Recreation Departments to Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan Parks and Recreation Departments

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Abstract:

Since Bollens (1957) first identified special districts as a “dark continent” in political science, the number of non-school special districts in the United States has grown substantially. During the past 50 years, however, political science objections to the fragmentation of metropolitan government have remained largely theoretical.
This study examines one form of non-school special districts-- park districts-- and evaluates their efficiency and effectiveness. The study evaluates park district services compared to similar services provided by consolidated general-purpose municipal governments.
Two competing hypotheses are identified. The first states that parks and recreation departments provide higher levels of efficiency in delivering services than park districts. The second states that park districts provide higher service levels than municipal parks and recreation departments.
Midwestern states were selected for the study because they have the largest number of non-school special districts in the United States and comparable numbers of parks and recreation departments within municipalities and county governments.
Service levels, autonomy, demographic, and administrator profile data for park districts and parks and recreation departments were collected by surveying an equal number of randomly selected park district administrators and randomly selected parks and recreation department administrators in Midwestern states.
Data was analyzed using comparative means testing, bivariate and multivariate linear regression to test the relationships between service levels, and efficiency levels, as identified in the literature. In addition, these quantitative techniques were used to test competing hypotheses identified in other studies, suggesting that staffing and professional training levels are explanations for service and budgetary levels.
The aggregate results of this study show that structure of government is not an important determinant of total recreation program levels. The study also demonstrates that structure of government is not an important determinant of levels of efficiency.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

park (255), district (173), recreat (129), servic (97), total (92), depart (86), govern (69), effici (58), level (52), per (51), illinoi (48), provid (47), state (44), tabl (43), special (39), program (36), new (34), budget (34), agenc (34), mani (33), higher (32),
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Name: MPSA Annual National Conference
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http://www.indiana.edu/~mpsa/


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MLA Citation:

Emanuelson, David. "A Comparative Analysis of Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and South Dakota Park Districts and Parks and Recreation Departments to Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan Parks and Recreation Departments" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL, Apr 03, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p268798_index.html>

APA Citation:

Emanuelson, D. N. , 2008-04-03 "A Comparative Analysis of Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and South Dakota Park Districts and Parks and Recreation Departments to Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Michigan Parks and Recreation Departments" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the MPSA Annual National Conference, Palmer House Hotel, Hilton, Chicago, IL Online <PDF>. 2013-12-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p268798_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Since Bollens (1957) first identified special districts as a “dark continent” in political science, the number of non-school special districts in the United States has grown substantially. During the past 50 years, however, political science objections to the fragmentation of metropolitan government have remained largely theoretical.
This study examines one form of non-school special districts-- park districts-- and evaluates their efficiency and effectiveness. The study evaluates park district services compared to similar services provided by consolidated general-purpose municipal governments.
Two competing hypotheses are identified. The first states that parks and recreation departments provide higher levels of efficiency in delivering services than park districts. The second states that park districts provide higher service levels than municipal parks and recreation departments.
Midwestern states were selected for the study because they have the largest number of non-school special districts in the United States and comparable numbers of parks and recreation departments within municipalities and county governments.
Service levels, autonomy, demographic, and administrator profile data for park districts and parks and recreation departments were collected by surveying an equal number of randomly selected park district administrators and randomly selected parks and recreation department administrators in Midwestern states.
Data was analyzed using comparative means testing, bivariate and multivariate linear regression to test the relationships between service levels, and efficiency levels, as identified in the literature. In addition, these quantitative techniques were used to test competing hypotheses identified in other studies, suggesting that staffing and professional training levels are explanations for service and budgetary levels.
The aggregate results of this study show that structure of government is not an important determinant of total recreation program levels. The study also demonstrates that structure of government is not an important determinant of levels of efficiency.

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Associated Document Available MPSA Annual National Conference
Associated Document Available All Academic Inc.
Associated Document Available Political Research Online

Document Type: PDF
Page count: 42
Word count: 8759
Text sample:
A Comparative Analysis of Illinois Ohio Colorado and South Dakota Park Districts and Parks and Recreation Departments to Wisconsin Iowa Missouri Kansas Indiana and Michigan Parks and Recreation Departments MPSA Annual National Conference Dr. David N. Emanuelson Aurora University April 5 2008 ABSTRACT Since Bollens (1957) first identified special districts as a “dark continent” in political science the number of non-school special districts in the United States has grown substantially. During the past 50 years however political science objections
41 Veal A.J. 1987. Leisure and the Future. London UK: Allen and Unwin. Vickerson R.W. 1975. The Economics of Leisure and Recreation. New York NY: McMillan. Yoder Daniel G. Dean Zoerink and K. Dale Adkins. 2000a. An Analysis of the Role and Impact of Park Districts Forest Preserves and Conservation and Recreation Agencies in Illinois. Macomb IL: Western Illinois University. Yoder Daniel G. Dean Zoerink and K. Dale Adkins K. 2000b. The State of Illinois Park and Recreation Agencies


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