Independent Special District

What is a Special District
The Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD) is an independent special district sanctioned under California Law for the performance of local government functions. Special Districts range in size from small to very large (HARD is the largest parks and recreation special district in the state) and often crosses political boundary lines, such as city and county borders, to serve a common community of interest.

Responsibility & Accountability
This is especially true of HARD since our boundaries cover not only the City of Hayward, but also include Castro Valley, San Lorenzo, and other unincorporated areas such as Ashland, Cherryland, and Fairview. Special districts have a clear identification between their agency’s name and the services provided (Recreation and Park District, Mosquito Abatement District, Water District, etc), which has resulted in a high level of responsibility and accountability to the public.

Benefits of Special Districts
According to the State Legislative Analyst, independent special districts have consistently shown the slowest rate of spending growth for local governments. We believe this is due to the aforementioned high degree of accountability to the public and to the specific nature of the services provided by special districts. HARD is considered an independent special district because we are directly accountable to our constituents, not another layer of local government, and have an elected board that sets policy.

Districts Make the Difference


California special districts are much more than local service providers. These local agencies are directly accountable to their residents and they are passionate about providing high-quality services and resources in the most efficient and effective manner. Find out more about the impact special districts are having and how they benefit the millions of Californians that use their services.

For more information, please visit Districts Make the Difference.
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