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City Views

City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Sep 03

Planning the Future of the City's Parks

Posted on September 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM by OCOM Specialist

By Paul Stoddard, Senior Planner

Parks and open space are vital components of a community's quality of life. Parks contribute a range of social, health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Social and Health Benefits
Socially, parks provide a space for community events, such as Concerts in the Park (Cherry Hill Park) and the Saturday Farmer's Market. Parks also provide places for people to walk and relax, which can improve health through exercise and stress relief.

Environmental Benefits
In terms of the environment, parks help to address the City's ongoing storm-water problems. For example, the stream restoration projects along Pearson Branch and Coe Branch will reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution. With its extensive tree canopy, the City parks also help to improve air quality.

Economic Benefits
Due to the quality-of-life benefits described above, business owners will locate near parks to help them attract top labor. At the same time, skilled workers choose to live nearby attractive parks, creating a more competitive local economy that can support high skill businesses.

Because of the many benefits the City's park system provides, it is important for the community to plan for the future of the City's park system. In coordination with the City Council, the Planning Commission, and the Recreation & Parks Advisory Council, City staff is working to update the Park Master Plan. Information about the update process is available.

To date, staff has participated in work sessions with the City Council, the Planning Commission, and the Recreation & Parks Advisory Council. This coming Saturday, September 6, 2014, staff will host a community meeting to discuss ideas for the future of the City's park system. I invite everyone to attend the meeting, listen to a brief presentation, and engage in a discussion about the future of the City's park system. The meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Community Center (233 Little Falls St.).