From left, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and Nick Offerman star in NBC s new show,  Parks and Recreation.
From left, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and Nick Offerman star in NBC s new show, Parks and Recreation. (NBC)

Tom Landis and Amy Poehler have a lot in common.

Landis is the real-life supervisor for the York City Recreation and Parks Bureau.

Poehler plays Pawnee, Ind., parks and recreation director Leslie Knope on NBC's new show "Parks and Recreation."

Knope is serious about her job. She installed speed bumps on a playground slide, as seen in a promo for the comedy series.

Landis said he laughed out loud when he saw the commercial.

"Safety is a big concern for us," he said. "Obviously, she was taking it to an extreme."

But Landis, a 19-year parks and recreation veteran, takes his job seriously, too.

He's eager to see how NBC portrays his career. He hopes the show doesn't just poke fun at parks and recreation.

"The TV show (can be) a humorous way to touch on important issues," he said.

Landis discussed his take on parks and recreation as he drove around York with recreation director A.J. Grimm on a recent Tuesday morning.

He spotted a yellow-crowned night heron, an endangered species, at Kiwanis Lake.

He pointed out the field where Brooks Robinson started his baseball career at Veterans Memorial Park.

He recently met people who traveled from Arizona to take a spin at the Reid Menzer Memorial Skatepark.

Spring is an especially busy time for Landis, but he's not alone. Fifteen full-time staff members chip in.

Road kill, broken windows, leaky roofs, fallen trees and graffiti are some of the challenges they face daily.

Landis and Grimm took some time to check in with their staffers.

Edward Freeland and George Jennings fixed a burst pipe at Bob Hoffman Stadium.

Another crew cleared leaves out of Farquhar Park gutters.

Kathy Arnold mopped the Voni B. Grimes Gym floor.

Chip Lewis and Jody Trimmer painted the Princess Center.

"The beauty of this job is that there is always something different to do," Lewis said.

The staff's ingenuity helps Landis stretch his shrinking budget -- another challenge of the job.

Recycled hockey sticks are used as trash-picking tools. Old chain-link fences are used to drag baseball fields. In-house welding and carpentry patch up old machines and equipment.

Tax money, donations and sponsorships provide financial support. Community organizations and local businesses replace, upgrade and expand York playgrounds through the Angels of the Park Program.

There's always more to do. A downtown senior center and Memorial Park facelift are in the works. Energy-efficient elements are constantly being incorporated, Grimm said.

It isn't all hard labor. Perks of the job include getting outdoors, being creative and serving the community, Landis said.

Many children that live in York can't walk out their back doors to play."Our parks become a backyard for a child," Landis said. About 98 percent of city residents can walk to a park. More than 100,000 people pass through the gates of Hoffman softball complex every summer.

Sometimes it's the community service that provides comic relief. Since the staff is out in the city all day, they have plenty of bizarre stories to share, Grimm said.

He's never gotten a call from a parent insisting that he put speed bumps on a sliding board, but he's ready for anything.

"A lot of people don't realize all that we do," he said.; 771-2051


What: "Parks and Recreation"

When: 8:30 p.m. Thursdays

Where: NBC

For details:


White Rose Bar and Grill, 48 N. Beaver St. in York, hosts a premier Party for NBC's show "Parks and Recreation."

The free event starts at 8 p.m. Thursday.

A portion of all proceeds of food and drink sales will be donated to Bring on Play -- a fund to renovate the playground equipment at York's Lincoln Park.

For details, call 848-5369 or visit

For details about the Bring on Play program or York City Recreation and Parks, visit


York parks by the numbers:

27 parks and green spaces

5 recreation facilities

250 total acres

5 baseball fields

12 pavilions

23 basketball courts

13 tennis courts

22 play structures

122,000 daffodil plants
Source: York City Recreation and Parks Bureau