Community case for a major urban parks program
Parks are a critical and fundamental component of a vibrant and thriving city and can serve as centers for transit, trails, and redevelopment. Well designed parks can accommodate a diverse population of users that will vary in income, age, culture and status. When located and designed properly parks improve accessibility to recreation, healthy places and a variety of goods, services and amenities that are reasonably affordable. By promoting access to trails and greenspace parks can contribute to the improved health of individuals, families and communities.
When combine with transit oriented development, parks encourage a high participation rate in special cultural events (i.e. jazz festivals, fun runs, food festivals) and increase the opportunities for recreation for a broad range of users (i.e. soccer matches, dog walks, boot camps, yoga classes, joggers, etc.). Improved health, access to affordable or new housing, and the opportunities to create new businesses are positive outcomes of parks.
Community gardens co-located with parks promote access to healthy food, attract children and the elderly, and provide ample opportunities for outreach, training, and education. Safe parks and established after school recreation programs at urban parks can reduce neighborhood crime and serve to improve local land values.
Environmental benefits from parks include improved air quality which is directly linked to improve human health. Urban parks provide a vital role in storm water management; pervious surfaces reduce storm water runoff (and flooding) and reduce costs for local water and wastewater treatment facilities. In cases where environmentally impaired sites (brown fields) can be converted to green fields, numerous benefits can be realized by the community and property owners.
Parks provide unmatched entertainment value to American families and domestic and international visitors. Parks have been and will continue to be a vital contributor to the health and prosperity of our citizens and cities.