Parks provide many benefits to community

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Everyone enjoys a park. Everytime I drive down West G Street someone is having a picnic, playing a pick-up game of basketball, or just enjoying the playground at Kiwanis Park. Parks can even be attractions, such as Central Park in New York or Hyde Park in London, or even the National Mall in Washington D.C.
Parks come in a variety of types. There’s passive parks which often contain walking trails, picnic tables, benches, maybe a community garden, or other passive activities; active parks which incorporates elements such as playgrounds, various sports fields/courts, and other highly active activities; natural parks which are similar to many of our national parks or Roan Mountain State Park; and garden parks which are similar to passive parks, but typically have more formal planting spaces, statuary, fountains, and the like. As you can see, parks aren’t just for kids, they’re for adults who want to remain active as they age, who want to take a quick walk and enjoy the beautiful flower beds and scenery, and who want to be involved in their community.
Parks can also help improve the public health of a community. As I mentioned earlier, parks can provide an outlet for recreation helping citizens be physically active and increase the fitness of the community. Trees, flowers, bushes, and other plantings often found in parks help to clean the air in a community. Parks also absorb storm water in the community reducing the amount of runoff and helping to prevent flooding of a neighborhood and keeping city resources from having to install new storm water lines.
The values of property surrounding parks can also be impacted by parks. Study after study has positively correlated a home or property value to its proximity to a park. Similar studies have also shown such a relationship in neighborhoods with tree lined streets. In cities across the county, such as Chattanooga, property values more than doubled when a new park was developed. As property values increased so did the property and sales taxes resulting in additional revenue for the local governments.
Parks provide so many benefits to our community and we are lucky to have such a dedicated and caring parks staff here in Elizabethton. Parks are for everyone and we must keep that in mind when we improve and develop new parks. What additional improvements can we make to our current parks in order to make our parks more attractive to more people? Let’s talk about it!
(Jon Hartman is Director of Planning & Economic Development for the City of Elizabethton. He can be contacted at 542-1503 or via email at:

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