Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/11

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REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

more or less continuously out of ordinary annual appropriations. A new park situated where it can be used conveniently by the public should be considerably improved according to a comprehensive plan at the outset, and presumably by means of borrowed money. There may be a lull and for, perhaps, ten or twenty years further improvements may be limited to what can be done annually by means of small appropriations and malnly by occasional moderate increase of the regular maintenance force. Practically the improvement takes place more rapidly during times of commercial prosperity or else during times of extreme industrial depression when it may be advisable to use the credit of the city to provide work for the poorest class of laborers who suffer most from lack of employment. The loans for improvement of parks and still more decidedly those for the purchase of land should be authorized during good times and expended during hard times. Since the burden is evenly distributed over so long a period as to cover several good times and their intervening hard times it can make but little difference when the burden begins or when additional burdens are assumed, while it makes tremendously for economy to purchase lands during hard times when land owners often are more eager to obtain cash than to hold on for a possible future protit and it is far more advantageous to employ common labor for park improvement during hard times either to prevent or to diminish the sufferings of the poor and to get the work done at minimum wages.

15—Park Systems Should Be Improved According to a Well Studied and Comprehensive General Plan.

Park systems, like other large, complex and costly creations of human intelligence, should be carefully designed by trained designers.

Like a large public building, every large park is composed of various parts and numerous details and it is just as important to employ an expert designer to devise a general plan for such parks as it is to employ an architect to design a correspondingly important public building. For reasons rather difficult to explain there are in every city many more persons who consider themselves competent to direct the expenditure of public money on parks without plans prepared by experts than there are persons who would be willing to direct the expenditure of similar amounts on a large city hall, and yet, as a matter of fact, the ability to design landscape is very much rarer than the ability to design monumental public buildings.

The designing of a park should begin with the selection of the site. In doing which many important considerations of a technical nature should receive far more attention than they generally get from those usually entrusted with this duty.