Vladimir Recreation Project
September 7, 2004
Barbara Elwood Schlatter, Ph.D.
Marta K. Moorman, Ed.D.
INTRODUCTION: Project Overview,
and Stakeholder Wants and Needs
Vladimir, Russia, population 375,000, is located approximately 115
miles northeast of Moscow. This large industrial city has not only
a rich history dating back to the 12th century, but has parks and
open spaces with excellent potential for recreation. Unfortunately,
young people in Vladimir currently have little to do in the summer
besides drink beer, smoke, and get into trouble - facts that are widely
recognized. Failure to deal with these problems will place demands
on law enforcement resources, and will ultimately interfere with economic
development in the city.
One effective way to address problems faced by youth is through the
provision of recreation attractions in city parks. Numerous communities
in the United States and other countries have used organized recreation
programs and the development of safe, but exciting recreation facilities
to foster a sense of resiliency among youth. Since 1992, the American
Home in Vladimir has earned a reputation for addressing community
needs by "getting things done." Operated by Dr. Ron Pope
through his firm Serendipity-Russia, the American Home began working
with the Vladimir City Administration in 2003 to address the recreational
needs of Vladimir youth.
Grant monies were obtained in 2003 by team members, Drs. Marta Moorman,
(University of Nebraska at Kearney), and Barbara Schlatter (Illinois
State University) to visit Vladimir in July 2004 and assess the need
for a recreation facility that could serve as a model for other parts
of the city as well as the rest of Russia. The results of the assessment
are reported below.
This report represents the first step in the development of a multipurpose
recreation facility for Vladimir youth. Listed below are the stakeholder
wants and needs as perceived by the team members.
The stakeholders for a
multipurpose recreation facility in Vladimir want:
a free facility (or attractions) that is open seven days a
week and easily accessible
the facility (or attractions) to have few if any equipment
requirements for participants
the following recreation attractions are desired by youth and
youth professionals in a central location with easy access from the
a skatepark, surrounded by a secure fence to discourage would
a disc golf course constructed of sturdy materials that are
not easily vandalized
The stakeholders for a
multipurpose recreation facility in Vladimir need:
financial and moral support from the Vladimir City Administration
the installation of several recreation attractions (skatepark
obstacles, disc golf course) at the 850th Anniversary Vladimir City
Park, provided through grant funding and/or through construction plans
provided by the U.S. team.
installation of a disc golf course at the Dobroselsky Park
or Village Where Kind People Live Park under the direction
of Ms. Natalia Petrushina.
OBSERVATIONS: What the
The basic elements for a multipurpose recreation facility already
exist in Vladimir.
Consider the Following
Yelena Bychkovskikh, International Affairs and Tourism, Vladimir
This well-connected young woman spent her formative years in Vladimir
so she knows first hand the problems experienced by youth. Moreover,
she has excellent rapport with the projects stakeholders (American
Home staff, park directors, sports complex directors, presidents and
club members for skateboarding and cycling). She speaks English fluently
and knows how to make things happen.
Other Key Players:
Ms. Olga Chapurina, Director, Druzhba or Friendship Park
Ms. Natalia Petrushina, Director, Dobroselsky or Village Where
Kind People Live Park
Mr. Andrey Tsirulev, Director, Molodezhny or Youth Sport
Mr. Sergey Kirilov, Director, Vladimir Youth Committee
These individuals showed
genuine concern about the problems faced by youth and expressed a
strong desire to assist with this project.
of the City of Vladimir Park:
There are four large city parks in Vladimir. Of the four, the park
in the citys center the 850th Anniversary of Vladimir
City Park offers the best overall accessibility for youth due
to its location and accessibility to public transportation and is
the teams first choice for the recreation attractions.
Two Organized Sport
There are two well-organized youth groups (outdoor/bicycle club and
a skateboard club) that are eager to help develop facilities or attractions.
The city is actively taking beautification steps mostly along Bolshaya
Moskovskaya. These steps include flowerbeds, new sidewalks, and lawn
Mass Transportation System
There exists a reliable and relatively low cost city bus and tram
system whereby youth can safely travel throughout the city.
Consider the Following
Currently there is no money available through existing park budgets
to fund the development of such attractions. Park directors are already
being as creative as possible in terms of generating revenue through
existing attractions and using that money to pay employees.
Anniversary of Vladimir City Park:
This director, Oleg Barabanov, did not display significant interest/enthusiasm
for the proposed project compared to the other park directors. He
seemed indifferent to his job and about our project. While the park
presents the best location for these attractions, the team is not
confident that Barbanov is a reliable and positive player in this
project. The team recommends that another park official from the 850th
Anniversary Park ultimately oversee this project. The determination
of this individual will be made under advisement with Dr. Ron Pope,
Ms. Yelena Bychkovskikh, and Mr. Yuri Fedorov. This park is clearly
the best location for the project. Moving the attractions to another
park would make them inconvenient to the youth, as they are used to
skateboarding at the Vladimir Oblast building about 1 km away. In
the event that personnel changes cant be made at the main city
park, the project could move to the Druzhba or Friendship
Park under the direction of Ms. Olga Chapurina.
Free versus Fee
While youth want free attractions, park officials will likely view
such innovative and novel attractions as an excellent way to generate
income for their parks by charging a nominal fee. If some of the new
attractions can be kept free and if the fees charged for the other
attractions can be kept truly nominal, and, therefore, affordable,
charging fees does not need to be a problem.
Facility versus Attractions within an Existing Park:
To develop a separate multipurpose recreation facility is likely not
feasible. Instead, the team believes it would be better to place said
recreation attractions in an existing park such as the 850th Anniversary
Vladimir City Park.
Every park director we interviewed told us that vandalism is a major
problem. Unless attractions are secured, or built with strong materials
that will stand up to vandalism, there is no point in providing attractions.
This also feeds into the City Administrations reluctance to
Stage 1 2004-2005
To achieve the goals or needs noted above, the following steps are
1. Grant Proposals
Ms. Kristina Saxon and Dr. Barbara Schlatter, Illinois State University,
will prepare and submit grant proposals by the end of 2004 to secure
funding for the construction or purchase of recreation attractions
in the form of stakepark obstacles and a disc golf course for the
850th Anniversary Vladimir City Park. Ms. Saxon is an undergraduate
recreation major completing an independent study with Dr. Schlatter.
She will immerse herself in skateparks and disc golf by visiting local
parks that have such attractions as well as visiting with park personnel
responsible for purchasing, managing, and maintaining such attractions.
Concomitantly she will conduct searches for grant funding from many
sources, although the Tony Hawk Foundation and Sister Cities International
are currently primary target sources.
2. Construction Plans
Dr. Marta Moorman, University of Nebraska at Kearney, will research
and provide step-by-step construction plans to the American Home staff
and Yelena Bychkovskikh in Vladimir so that basic skatepark obstacles
and disc golf baskets can be built right away for the 850th Anniversary
Vladimir City Park. Careful attention will be placed on the need for
basic materials that are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain.
3. Counter-vandalism Measures
In both items 1. and 2.above, counter-vandalism measures are essential
for the overall success to this project. Schlatter, Moorman, and Saxon
must communicate their counter-vandalism findings with each other
and ensure that the highest quality / cost effective measures will
be incorporated into the project.
STAGE 2 2005-2006
The next stage of this project, once Stage 1 is completed, is to seek
significant funding and construction plans for outdoor basketball
courts, sand volleyball courts, mini soccer and a covered area for
STAGE 3 2005-2006
The final stage of the project will be to seek significant funding
and construction plans for a protected (from vandalism) outdoor climbing
wall, and possibly other attractions, depending on funding.
An evaluation will be conducted upon completion of each stage. The
evaluation will solicit opinions and attitudes of the stakeholders
(park personnel, American Home staff, City Administration staff, and
the participants). The results of the evaluation will be communicated
to all stakeholders and funding sources (if applicable).
The provision of exciting and challenging recreation attractions can
steer youth away from negative influences in their lives (such as
alcohol and smoking). The problems faced by Vladimir youth are not
unique. Cities in the United States, as well as in other countries,
have used recreation successfully to address such problems.
This report has detailed the goals for the project, identified the
assets and challenges faced by Vladimir City in the realization of
those goals, and set forth a plan of action to address the goals.
Barbara Elwood Schlatter, Ph.D., firstname.lastname@example.org, 309-438-8233
Marta Moorman, Ed.D., email@example.com, 308-865-8626
Kristina Saxon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 309-438-8233