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Public parks play a crucial role in community health and wellness. They serve as greenspaces for socializing, exercising, and relaxing in the great outdoors. They drive traffic to nearby businesses, boosting the local economy. They promote a sense of calm, reducing community aggression and decreasing crime rates. Plus, public parks help to remove air pollution from cities, purify groundwater, and provide preservation and conservation of local wildlife.
If you want to support and promote the natural spaces in your city, consider becoming a public park advocate! Here are some impactful ways to advocate for your public parks.
Advocate for Park Safety
For your community to benefit from local parks, they must be safe. Creating safe parks encourages community members to use them as intended while discouraging park disturbances like vandalism and excessive noise. As a public park advocate, It’s important to keep an eye out for suspicious activity in local parks and report any safety concerns to the authorities.
You can also advocate for park safety improvements to make your public spaces more welcoming to community members. PPS.org explains that park users can feel at risk in environments with poor lighting, areas of concealment, aural isolation, vandalism, confusing layouts, and no access to help. Think about how safety improvements could resolve these kinds of problems in your local parks.
If you notice a lack of lighting in certain parks, connect with recreation administrators to discuss the possibility of installing lamp posts. Aluminum and steel parking lot light poles are durable and long-lasting, and you can find decorative options as well.
Raise Money for Park Improvements
Whether you think a local park needs a few safety upgrades or new recreational features to attract park users, consider raising money for these improvements. Research grants that may be available for the construction of playgrounds or community recreation improvements. You can even launch a crowdfunding campaign and encourage locals to pitch in and contribute to park improvements.
Another great way to advocate for parks is to get involved as a volunteer. Get in touch with your parks and recreation department to learn about available volunteer opportunities. Volunteering might involve helping with park maintenance, conducting ecological research, refereeing sports events, running fundraising campaigns, writing grants, or providing park users with information. Regardless of your interests or areas of expertise, volunteering with parks and recreation offers something for everyone.
Work with Local Leaders
Parks are not typically a high priority for city and state leaders. If you want to encourage leaders to care about your local parks, you have to reach out! Connect with your City Councilor to discuss your concerns or any ideas you may have to improve parks. You can start by making a public comment at a Council meeting discussing parks and recreation topics. Keep in mind that you may need to sign up to speak at the meeting ahead of time, so be sure to arrive early!
Write to Your Local Newspaper
Another way to get the attention of city leaders is to write to your local newspaper. Writing a letter to the editor can help you get the word out about a current park issue. Legislators and policymakers often monitor these types of letters to ensure they understand public concerns and issues of importance. And if you’re bringing a major issue to light, the newspaper might be inclined to investigate and provide journalistic coverage that may prompt a solution from city officials.
Public park advocates help communities get the most out of their available greenspace. By working with others to make parks safer, cleaner, and more enjoyable, you can encourage more community members to visit parks and enjoy all of the benefits of spending time in the great outdoors!