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Parks are Essential to our Health

Parks are Essential to our Health

During this challenging pandemic, health is more important than ever. When the immune system is down, it becomes difficult to fight off viruses and infections. When your body is not as prime as it could be, mental health also suffers. Mental and physical health are directly related: mental health impacts physical health and vice versa.

Nature is imperative to our health. For example, we need vitamin D for both our physical and emotional health. Historically, the public park was created with mental health in mind. Parks encourage physical activity and people who live close to parks are more prone to use them for exercise. Without scenic recreational areas, people are more likely to suffer from obesity and depression. Beauty is necessary for the public health. 

We take nature and aesthetics for granted. We take advantage of pristine parks and do not think about the care and effort that is put into keeping it desirable to communities. We do not think about the communities that cannot afford to do what it takes to keep parks free of litter and vandalism. It takes work to keep parks aesthetically appealing and free from graffiti and vandalism. For example, security guards and  anti-vandalism cameras may be a necessary asset to your park for the safety and health of your city. Also, signs reminding the public that the park is meant for everyone. Harming parks harms the entire community. 

We need to keep our parks clean and safe for our health and restore our communities to their original glory.

#Parks4All, #ParksAndRecreation, #WeAreParkAndRec, #NoVandalism #ProtectParks

Protect Your Park’s Assets

Protect Your Park’s Assets

The popular TV show about parks people gave us laughter when the main character tried to turn an empty lot into a park, but every Parks and Recreation employee knows developing a new park is no joke.  Once you designate the area or lot, the fun has just begun with finding Capital Funding and Operational Funding.  Your park will not only cost you thousands of dollars, but it also cost you in sweat, time, and vision. To get a better idea of what is involved, People make Parks, created tools to help with frequently asked questions for people who design and build a parks.

According to the NC State Extension Publications, the typical cost to just to have an athletic playing field averages $40,000 to an upwards amount of $400,000.   And if you want to have a structure like bathrooms or pavilions, the added cost averages $25,000 to $100,000 and this does not include the playground equipment that can cost an additional $500,000 depending on what equipment you choose.  

Parks are an investment into the community.  And this investment deserves protection.

To protect your park’s assets:

  •  Make sure there is adequate lighting
  • Create activities and programs that involve the community
  • Have Site Managers
  • Have walking routes
  • Display Maps at entrances and walk routes
  • Have Security Measures in place, such as Vandalism Cameras and patrolling officers
  • Clean up all vandalism and graffiti immediately
  • Maintain safety measures for the park and all park equipment

#NoVandalism, #ProtectParks, #Parksandrec, #ParksAndRecreation, #WeAreParksAndRec

Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Keep Vandalism Out of Parks

Play is essential for the good health of all children.  All communities need parks where play is an important part in the design of the park.  Communities need to provide a safe quality area for children to develop.   One assessment of the quality of a park is the “Playable Space Quality Assessment Tool” (PSQAT).  The PSQAT evaluates three aspects of a park, Location, Play Value and Care and Maintenance.

The location involves using the natural aspects of the area to be accessible to the entire community needs.  The Play Value must have a variety of options for children to explore and imagine.  The Care and Maintenance is not only the visual care of the park, which is important, but also the safety of the park.

Even though most parks are closed to the public during the COVID-19, graffiti and vandalism is occurring at the parks.  The cherished parks, where a budget of tears and sweat were used to create, are being manhandled and misused.  When the stay at home orders are lifted the parks need to be ready.  Rather than clean up after the vandalism has occurred – tools, like vandalism cameras, are available to maintain the dignity and safety of the park and stop criminal behavior before it begins. Most likely the unwanted behavior is executed by young teens frustrated with the restrictions placed upon them. But it could also be gang activity.  Any suggestion of gang activity will make the park unsafe for the community.  This is a challenging time for parks and recreation- make sure your department has the right tools.

#ParksandRec  #novandalism

Vandalism and COVID-19

Vandalism and COVID-19

With the COVID-19 and stay at home orders, parks are experiencing an increase in vandalism and graffiti.  It is hard to understand why anyone would want to destroy a park, which is maintained and taken care of for our enjoyment. 

Some vandals may feel the park is part of an institution and destroying the park is a retribution in the eyes of the attacker, who felt they have been wrong by the authorities or maybe the community. 

But although parks are governed by the local authority in the form of park directors and rangers, the parks belong to the community. 

Communities with parks are healthier, both physically and mentally.  Parks provide a safe area to play, walk and enjoy the squirrels.  According to Premier Health, breathing fresh air can raise oxygen in your brain and levels of serotonin.  All this alleviates stress and helps you sleep better.

So, why would people destroy the area created for this purpose?   During the COVID-19 restrictions, even people who normally follow the laws are feeling constrained, depressed and angry.  And those who already tend to push legal boundaries, are lashing out in unlawful ways.

Enforcing the COVID-19 orders is not easy.  During these unpresented times, restraining the public to refrain from using the parks is going to require truth and grace. 

Tools to help:

  • Social Media: Use social media to educate the public on the importance of social distancing
  • Signs: Post signs being clear what is off limits and the rules of social distancing in your parks
  • Barriers: Use barriers to define the areas off limits
  • Nuisance Crime Cameras: Nuisance Crime Cameras were designed to stop all unwanted activity and can be customized to stop COVID activities in your park

#vandalisminparks