Here’s the thing about parks – they’re important.
Not just for kids to play in or for hosting festivals and events, they are imperative to the overall vibrancy of a city.
They impact public health and wellness, how residents and visitors interact with the built environment, and human interaction. Because public spaces are also where movements, interactions, play and human connections happen.
By design, parks add recreation, beauty, charm, life and sense of place to the urban landscape. As a result, they are directly related to positive growth in economic development.
Research consistently links placemaking and economic development. A great example is Houston’s discovery green park which transformed 12 acres of underused green space into a urban park in 2008, spurring reinvestment in an underutilized area of downtown Houston. Or on a smaller scale, Kerrville, whose parks are a focal point on the Kerr Economic Development Corporation’s platform. Because companies that seek out new locations for businesses consider quality of life factors for employees and their families.
Uvalde is fortunate to be located near several amazing state parks, however, having options for in-town quality, clean, parks with programming and recreational opportunities is just as important.
Creating a source of sustainable funding for the creation, maintenance and overall improvement of the parks system in Uvalde means an investment in the city’s future.
The method in which the city chooses to create sustainable funding – whether it be taxes, fees, grant funding, reallocation, or fundraising – the whole process involves community input, and participation in the civic process.
This applies to residents regardless of whether or not one considers themselves an active park user. By supporting the process, it means that the residents care about what the city will be like for future generations.
The amazing part of this process is that the opportunity to make choices for the greater good of Uvalde lies currently in the hands of its residents.
So, even if attending a parks meeting is not possible, take the park survey and provide some input. Pay it forward for the next Uvaldean in your family.
Melissa Federspill is a staff writer at the Uvalde Leader-News, lives in Uvalde, and loves her dog.