3 Reasons We Love Parks – And You Should Too
In our present-day society, people often think of parks as “amenities.” Real estate agents and developers tend to classify “green space” as an added bonus of sorts. But, in truth, parks are necessities, contributing mightily to our quality of life, economic development and the physical and health of our citizens.
There are many reasons to love parks but here are the top three reasons we love parks. We think you’ll love them for these reasons and many more.
1.Physical Health & Wellness
It is no secret obesity and a lack of physical activity are serious problems in communities all across our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third (78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, and about 17% (12.7 million) of children and adolescents are obese.
Parks can help get adults and children moving. Earlier this year the National Recreation and Park Association announced a new five-year initiative called Commit to Health, a campaign to get kids healthy. Supported by the Partnership for a Healthier America, Commit to Health will bring healthy eating and physical activity standards to community park and recreation programs throughout the country.
Locally, the Conservancy worked with the City of Charleston and neighbors to add a new playground to Corrine Jones Park – now that park is filled with children. We’re also working to raise money for a makeover at McMahon Playground near Hampton Park.
Giving people inviting and functional spaces encourages physical activity. A study from the CDC reported that the creating or enhancing access to places for physical activity led to a 25.6% increase in the percentage of people exercising on three or more days per week.
2. Economic & Tourism Benefits
Charleston’s economy relies heavily on tourism and the influx of visitors who come to our beautiful city each year. Those visitors come to enjoy the historic downtown, architecture, beaches, restaurants and shopping. We want parks to be on that list.
Plus, parks can dramatically increase the value of both residential and commercial properties in the nearby areas. For example, back in 1996, Centennial Olympic Park was built for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The property value in the area was $2 per square foot before the park; values increased to $150 per square foot by the end of the 1900s.
Locally, we’re working on a $5 million renovation to Colonial Lake, where historic homes are already fetching a premium price. Imagine the increase once the park space is redone
3. Back to Nature
Parks expose people to nature, plants and even community vegetable gardens in traditionally urban areas. It allows for the benefits of city living with all the beauty of trees, green spaces and gardens.
The parks encourage outdoor play, social interaction and a sense of community — all in a natural setting. Open spaces attract neighbors, children and even their dogs to head outside, meet one another and explore their surrounding green space.
Earlier this year in West Ashley, we opened Magnolia Park and Community Garden and it’s been incredible to watch the community that has built around that garden as families, friends and neighbors have come together to grow not only vegetables but relationships as well.