A Park is More than a Playground: Interview with Chicago Park Supervisor Rilan Betts

“A park is only as strong as the people that surround the park.”
Sometimes people forget about the important relationships parks play within a community. Rilan Betts (left) is one of the youngest park supervisors in Chicago, and he is on mission to add some flavor within the traditional park model starting with the historical Jackie Robinson Park. But where does this drive come from? It boils down to one key word: help.

“I really appreciate helping people out. I think about where I would be if I never received help from others. It’s one thing to get help from family but from a complete stranger to help me is something that always stood out to me. So I always knew I wanted a professional job helping people.” Betts said.

Keeping the cycle of help alive is the perfect job for Betts, and using that energy to improve parks is the objective. What some people don’t understand is it’s more than simply managing the playgrounds, baseball diamonds, and soccer fields – it’s managing a group of people that sticks together.
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