SQUARES AND PLAY GROUNDS.
In addition to a comprehensive system of parks and parkways, the city should provide, from time to time, for an adequate number and suitable distribution of local squares and play grounds. In a few instances, some squares have been provided by the owners of large tracts in connection with the subdivision of their land; but the number of owners who have, and who will hereafter recognize the benefit from a commercial point of view sufficiently to make such dedications, is very small, and this method cannot be relied upon to provide a city with local parks and play grounds. The matter is so intimately bound up with the question of land values. and with local public opinion and other local conditions. that it can only be properly investigated and decided upon by your Board. Judging by what has been done in other cities, either the city should purchase several such squares from the proceeds of a bond issue in the near future. and then. ten years or so later make another purchase of squares in a similar manner, or the policy should be definitely adopted of setting aside out of funds raised from current taxation. a reasonable sum every year to be applied to the purchase of play grounds. If the latter policy could become so firmly established that it could be relied upon, it would undoubtedly prove a good one from a business standpoint as there would be more likelihood of competition among land owners in the offering of land. During periods of depression in business when sales of land often come nearly to a standstill, many owners would make much more reasonable terms than during periods of business activity, which are the periods when it is usually easiest to obtain authority for an issue of bonds. But in either case, the general policy should be to secure for play grounds the cheapest possible lands that are adapted for the purpose, and that are properly distributed, and for ornamental squares and neighborhood pleasure grounds those tracts the improvement of which would of the most benefit to adjoining property. In some cases, the two purposes can be combined to advantage by taking much larger areas, and devoting the borders or the higher portions to ornamental purposes and the lower or the most level portions to play-ground uses. It should be borne in mind that baseball playing and football playing and play grounds are almost certain, sooner or later, to be strenuously objected to in small parks adjoining good neighborhoods, and that they are most necessary and moat used in localities occupied by the poorer classes.
Additional squares, suitably distributed about the city, should be secured from time to time as the expense can be afforded, or as the owners of subdivisions are willing to dedicate them.