Modesto-funded league for disabled bowlers almost saw its season cut short because of the city budget crunch, but donors stepped in and saved the program a few weeks ago.
That's just one example of how private dollars are filling growing holes in the city's parks and recreation budget.
Cash contributions are keeping the grass mowed at smaller parks the city can't afford to maintain. Donations bought trail-side benches on the Virginia Corridor and planted daffodils at Monterosso Park.
The demand for private funding to support public spaces is likely to grow. With the parks budget slashed 18 percent this year, officials say they need more help than ever. Officials with the city Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Department plan to form a nonprofit organization to accept tax-deductible donations for department programs.
Some question why taxpayers are being asked to put more of their dollars toward government services. But Parks Director Julie Hannon said private fund raising has become a necessity.
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