City Council's Committee on Law and Government will hold its first hearing tomorrow morning on legislation that would ask voters if they want to combine the functions of the Fairmount Park Commission and city's Department of Recreation.  Council members Darrell Clarke and Blondell Reynolds Brown have proposed a change to the city's Charter to create the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Mayor Nutter backs the idea, saying it would help the city coordinate more efficient services.  Nutter spoke today during the release of a report by The Trust For Public Land, created for the Philadelphia Parks Alliance.  That report found that the economic benefit of Philadelphia's parks far exceeds the amount the city spends to maintain them.

Nutter has boosted funding for Fairmount Park by $2.5 million for the fiscal year that starts on July 1 and wants a 46 percent increase in funding over the next five years. "There's still work to be done," Nutter said. "But I think the opportunity is right here, right now, especially with this report. Everyone is recognizing the true value of parks."