Friday, July 23, 2010

Can Parks Pay For Themselves?

Well, yes. They can. And quite easily.

Recently, I ran across a great article ( describing the economic, social and health benefits of parks. I'd encourage anyone interested in the topic to read it.

The basic idea, supported in the article by tons of academic research, is that people willing choose to pay more for a home located near a park. That's it. Simple, intuitive, and a truism that most successful realtors can readily confirm.

When people pay more for homes near parks, property tax valuations reflect this higher selling price, which in turn generates greater tax revenues. These revenues go on to increase the general coffers, repay bonds which funded the initial development, or finance ongoing park maintenance.

Homes near parks also tend to have higher re-sell values and tend to stay on the market for shorter periods of time. A 20% increase in the value of properties abutting parks is typical. Properties along greenways have documented increases in value of over 30%.

Bottom line, parks more than pay for themselves.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kiwanis Park gets International Acclaim

Well, let me qualify that. Kiwanis Park was featured in a Polish print magazine recently. Since I don't actually read Polish; the text may actually read: "Most Idiotic Parks in America" or something along those lines, but judging by the other photos in the article I'd say our humble Kiwanis Park is in good company. The first page is below: I'm not sure what copyright laws apply so I won't post the entire article. If you can translate the article, please let me know.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Value of Parks & Recreation - Kirschman

A while back I invited Michael Kirschman from Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation speak about the True Value of Parks & Recreation. Michael gives this presentation to packed crowds at conferences around the country so we were very lucky to have him speak here. If you wanted to come but just couldn't fit in into your schedule you now have a second chance.

With permission, I've hosted an audio mp3 clip of the presentation as well as a pdf of the original Powerpoint. While the two are not synced, it's easy to follow along as the interface is quite intuitive. You can view and listen without having to download the files.

The audio is hosted here:

and the pdf is hosted here:

This is great info; it reiterates the fact that parks benefit the entire community, not just the people who use them.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Look For Parks Blog

I've just been playing with some minor tweaks to change the look a bit; it may affect older posts adversely, but I think I can live with that.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Town Lake Park Minor Enhancements

Town Lake Park is a great little park, offering swings, monkey bars, pond, soccer field, a picnic shelter with grills, and many shady trails for a respite from this summer heat. I've noticed, however, that while a lot of people visit the parts of the park near the parking lot, far fewer seem to explore the trails. Nothing wrong with that; there's wifi near the lot and folks like to feed the geese or use the picnic shelter. And a few recent park improvements will make the parking lot area even more enjoyable. But I hope they will also encourage people to explore the trails and access the more hidden areas of the park.

Here's what's been done: Both parking lots have received tree work to raise the tree canopy and make the area feel safer and more open. Low spots and potholes in the parking lot have been filled in, and poison ivy has been attacked aggressively. The chips from the tree work were retained for future projects.

The soccer field has been aerated and the low areas filled with topsoil, while compost has been spread throughout and the bare spots reseeded. All of this should improve play for the soccer leagues and for the individuals who make use of the field.

But perhaps the most noticeable improvements have been to the trailheads. We've cleared out lots of poison ivy, honeysuckle, and elaeagnus, and coved the cleared areas with recycled leaf mulch which our public works crews collect from around town every fall. In addition, some attractive, but also deer, heat, and abuse tolerant plants have been installed at the entranceways, drawing eyes toward the trail and inviting people to explore further. My daughter and I walked around this weekend and had a great time.

Hwy 902 trailhead: Before clearing

Hwy 902 trailhead: After clearing and crusher run trail surfacing

Hwy 902 trailhead: After plantings

Diane Street Parking Lot: After Improvements left of trail

Diane Street Parking Lot: After Improvements right of trail
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