So, I have a huge task ahead of me.  There are well over one hundred parks in Rochester and I’m going to visit them all.  Over the past few months I’ve only visited a few of the Rochester parks.  As I visit each one I add items to my list of things to look for and document.  Pictures become more targeted and specific and my commentary gets more detailed.  I am constantly developing my vision for what I want the finished site to look like.  Each Rochester park has things that make it unique (disc golf course) and things that make it the same as every other park (grass).

Ranking the Parks

As a teacher, when I hear “things in common” I immediately think of making comparisons.  If all the parks have an entrance, what park has the most obvious entrance?  There are literally eleven entrances to Durand-Eastman park.  Is there a “main” entrance?  Where should people go to first?  If all or even most of the parks have a playground, how will I judge each one?

Some playgrounds have obviously been put in in the last five years or so, having shiny plastic and painted metal that show little to no signs of weathering.  Others have dilapidated wood-based playgrounds that show the years of use.

Towards a Rubric

The best way grade something that isn’t “right or wrong” is with a rubric!  A rubric is comprised of multiple dimensions (criteria for grading), levels (grades like 1-5), and often include descriptors (a clear picture of what that grade level looks like).  The first place to start is coming up with dimensions to be graded.  This is where I need help!

I’m a family man and as such I have certain things that I look for at the parks I visit.  Playgrounds, safety, cleanliness and “line of sight” are criteria that I judge when visiting a Rochester park.  However, you might be an athletic sort of person that is unmarried and who has no children.  You might not care about playgrounds but care a lot about the number of soccer fields in a park.  How can I present an objective ranking of Rochester parks without first deciding what should be judged?

Criteria to Consider…or Not?

Some characteristics of a park have a great deal of weight when ranking.  Does the size of the park have this weight?  A small city park like Ellwanger and Barry Park (in my humble opinion) should not be capable of being ranked lower than Black Creek park simply because one is larger or smaller.  Likewise, can a park help that it has no water (creek, beach, lake, etc.) in or around it?  I personally love a  park with water.  However, Corbett’s Glen Nature Park should not be ranked higher than Barnard Park simply because it has a beautiful meandering creek that runs through the south end.

Here’s where you help:

What do you look for when you visit a Rochester park?  Here are a few things I look at.  If you have any suggestions for new dimensions, please suggest them below in the comments section.  Together we can help share the best information about the parks in Rochester!