Our View: Public parks, green spaces add value to communities

Published 9:25 am Friday, July 5, 2019

Public parks and green spaces add immeasurable value to communities and their residents, and Kentucky is lucky to be home to some superb parks.

Saturday marks a day to celebrate those parks and to encourage those around you to enjoy the beauty of Kentucky’s outdoors.

National Hop-A-Park Day is celebrated the first Saturday in July.

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With the warmer weather — and the recent much-needed break from the rain — in the Bluegrass, now is the perfect time to explore the parks in Central Kentucky.

Think of the many parks in the area and how you could enjoy them this weekend.

Winchester is home to several parks, including the more popular College and Lykins parks.

There are also the Kroger Youth Soccer Complex, Melbourne Park, Community Park, Fairfield Park Harmon Park, Heritage Park and Massie Park.

Each park offers amenities.

There are shelters, playgrounds, walking trails, basketball and tennis courts and more.

There is also the disc golf course and Ironworks Hills near the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Along with the parks, there are several walking trails and tracks in the community.

Clark County will also soon be home to one of the most unique parks in the area when Legacy Grove opens later this year.

There are also many great parks in surrounding communities.

Take in a couple of hours here at home and then consider taking a short drive to one of the other fantastic parks in Central Kentucky.

Besides enjoying the beautiful weather and the parks themselves, Hop-A-Park Day offers an opportunity to step away from the technology that consumes many of our lives these days.

Rather than spend the day in front of the TV or thumbing through your phone, spend some quality time with nature and with those you love.

Pack a picnic lunch and make it a whole day. Take a walk, play some games, push your children on the swings, read a book in the shade or get up close and personal with nature on a hike or trail walk.

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, “parks shape perceptions of a community and its overall quality of life that help build a sense of place.”

Parks add so much to our communities.

They contribute to the health and well-being of the community while adding to the quality of life of its residents.

Parks offer an affordable and accessible way for people to access recreation and exercise opportunities that help combat serious and chronic health issues and sedentary lifestyles.

Parks also play an important role in conservation, many creating safe habitats for wildlife, preserving public land and trees and promoting responsible stewardship.

Parks connect people with nature and improve appreciation for it.

Parks and recreation facilities also have a positive economic impact.

According to NRPA’s Economic Development Report, “Investments in improving a community’s quality of life can create a virtuous cycle: high quality-of-life locations attract workers, which attract employers, which in turn attract even more investment and jobs. Park and recreation departments are significant employers in cities and towns.Their operations and capital spending generate positive impacts that ripple through local economies.”

Some other economic impacts include tourism-related spending from visitors to the parks and increased property values for nearby homes.

You might be surprised to discover all the variety of parks in the area and how you can enjoy them.

Take this weekend as an opportunity to celebrate those parks and to explore.