Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2019

Grant Funding Brings Parks Closer to People in 10 Cities

By Deborah L. Vence

Cities that are participating in the 10-Minute Walk Campaign will receive new grant funding to help increase access to high-quality parks that are within a 10-minute walk. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) together with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) selected 10 cities nationwide to receive grant funding that totals $400,000 as part of the 10-Minute Walk campaign. The goal of the campaign is to address the fact that one in three Americans don't have a park within a 10-minute walk (or half-mile) of home.

The grant funding will be used to support city planning and policy efforts that help increase access to high-quality, close-to-home parks and public green space in:

  • Bennettsville, S.C.
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles County, West Athens-Westmont, Calif.
  • Lynnwood, Wash.
  • Memphis, Tenn.
  • Paterson, N.J.
  • Raleigh, N.C.
  • Tacoma, Wash.
  • Winooski, Vt.

Chattanooga, Tenn., one of 12 cities to receive funding in 2018, is creating a parks masterplan that uses the 10-minute walk as a "benchmark for improved park access, includes underrepresented populations and prioritizes infrastructure improvements to promote park usage."

Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Tenn., which recently hosted a 10-minute walk training for new grantees, said, "As the Scenic City, we understand that parks play a critical role in the health and well-being of our communities, which is why we are proud to be connecting all of our residents to local parks. From greenways, playgrounds and splash pads, to hiking and biking trails, Chattanoogans should possess options for activities and community gatherings."

Jack Kardys, chair of the NRPA board of directors, said, "Parks are essential to the health, happiness and prosperity of our nation. We believe everyone deserves a great park, and we're proud to help lead this effort that prioritizes parks in cities and urban areas across the country."

A bipartisan group of more than 220 mayors have joined the 10-Minute Walk campaign, which was launched in 2017. The campaign aims to work with mayors to bring about city- and regional-level changes in three main areas: planning, funding and policies. These may include city bond measures; zoning changes to encourage park development; park master plans focused on access and quality; the expansion of "joint use" agreements that open school playgrounds, tracks and gyms for public use after hours; as well as other innovations.

The campaign, funding for which is provided by JPB Foundation, was built on research that shows access to high-quality parks within a half mile of home brings a wide range of benefits for urban residents and cities. Those benefits include reducing crime rates, improving mental and physical health outcomes (e.g., depression, anxiety and obesity), increasing city revenues, and protecting communities from more flooding, extreme temperatures and other impacts from climate change.

"We are partnering directly with mayors and other civic leaders in order to help create better, more livable cities," said Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. "Parks and green space are an essential part of improving the health and well-being of communities across the country."

W. Edward Walter, global chief executive officer for the Urban Land Institute, stated that "Thoughtfully designed parks make a positive difference in the quality of life in communities, serving as a respite, a source of civic pride, and a catalyst for economic development. We are excited to help promote the 10-minute walk campaign and improve park access in urban areas across the country."

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