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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / Chicken and Egg

Chicken and Egg


Chee Kai Ng, Malaysia

Organizing Grantee: ICMA

YSEALI Theme: Civic Engagement

Host: City of Rocky Mount, NC

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I’m sure you have heard about the chicken and egg debate. This got nothing to do with food, but a debate on chicken and egg, which existed in this world first? Well, nobody has the answer for it. The similar debate shall apply in the situation where do we need to have a good park in order to increase the demand from the community? Or is actually the high demand from the community pushing us to have a good park? You have the answer for it?

This debate was in my mind since I visited the Rocky Mount Parks and Recreation Department. The department is having more than 400 staffs that are developing and maintaining 53 parks (683.36 acres) and 11 buildings in the city. Their scopes are including athletics, arts center, children’s museum, special events, recreation services, sports complex, senior center, outdoor recreation and Imperial Centre Building.

Walking through the parks and facilities, I do notice a chain reaction is happening. It started with the efforts in maintaining a nice park. The community will like to visit a well maintained park and various programs will be planned and conducted. When the park become more common and famous, a lot of activities and tournaments shall take place in a more regular basic. Those activities and tournaments will definitely bring more visitors to the city and increase the economy activities in the city. When the city economy moves up, the community will have a better quality of live and the city hall is going to have more revenue. Then the extra revenue can be used to keep the park in a best condition. These processes will then keep repeating.

For me, to determine or rate a city, we shall not just look on the industrial or economy development, crime rate and etc. The public infrastructures like parks and recreation facilities as well as the community quality of live are also another important component that we should be focus on.