As we approach our annual Park Week, it’s time to celebrate all the terrific city parks and green spaces we have right here in Charleston – some 120 to be exact. So there’s no excuse not to slip out to the park for a quiet walk, a stress-busting run or a picnic with the kids.
As many as two-thirds of the residents of America's largest cities do not have access to a nearby park, playground or open space so we should certainly consider ourselves lucky. Some may argue a park is just a plot of land with a bench and maybe some playground equipment, so what’s the big deal?
But we know parks are a big deal.
People with access to parks exercise more. And we don’t have to tell you how important exercise is in our country where obesity is a serious problem. In a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity led to a 25.6 percent increase in the percentage of people exercising on three or more days per week.
Parks increase home values and improve neighborhoods. In this real estate market, you need every advantage you can get and potential buyers react to homes with park access. Surveys have found people are even willing to pay a little more for a house near a park or other protected space.
Parks are good for the environment. Trees reduce air pollution and water pollution, they help keep cities cooler, and they are a more effective and less expensive way to manage storm water runoff.
Parks build communities. In the last few months we completed a major playground renovation at Corrine Jones Park in downtown Charleston. The work transformed the park and, by extension, the neighborhood as a whole. We regularly hear from residents who tell us they go to the park and had no idea so many children lived in their neighborhood.
That’s all the evidence we need to know that parks do matter.
Join us as we celebrate Park Week! We’re offering a variety of activities, many of which are free. Check out the complete schedule.