Monday, 08 January 2018 17:25

Will you join me?

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New Year’s Resolutions - a tradition so many would rather do without. I actually look forward to it. Each new year provides an opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months, and resolve to do more of what worked well. As someone who works in the parks and greenspace arena my resolutions always involve thinking about the outdoors. There is no shortage of research from organizations such as the CDC and the Trust for Public Land or periodicals like Fast Company who list the benefits of spending active time outdoors. These reports come filled with esoteric terms such as “forest bathing”, “garden therapy” and “nature deficit disorder”. The list of benefits is long, offering improved health, mental wellbeing, longevity and my personal favorite from the CDC, “a favorable distribution of body fat”. The truth is, time spent outside is not only good for you but it is fun!



As you can imagine my resolution has to do with spending more time being active in the park. Will you join me on my resolve? Before you decide, let me share data points on what makes time spent at Chastain Park great. Parks and greenspace research rates urban parks on how well they serve their users.  Is the park only a sports recreational facility? Is it only a passive park?  Does it provide access to various modes of non-motorized transportation? Does it provide programs? Does it have a playground? Is it safe and welcoming? When you start thinking about Chastain Park it fits every one of these categories. This means that as a regional park, Chastain provides individuals, young and old, all the health benefits noted above as well as opportunities to socialize, learn new skills and even “forest bathe” all in one easily accessible beautiful environment.


A clean, safe and green park has benefits for the community at large too.  A study by the Trust for Public Land stated that a well maintained and programed park can raise property values by 5% -10%.  Of interest, this report showed that property values along Centennial Olympic Park, in downtown Atlanta, rose by 117% once the park was built! Parks have been a community asset since the onset of park design. For example: “Over 100 years ago Frederick Law Olmsted conducted a study of how parks help property values. From 1856 to 1873 he tracked the value of property immediately adjacent to Central Park, in order to justify the $13 million spent on its creation. He found that over the 17-year period there was a $209 million increase in the value of the property impacted by the park”.  Can you imagine NYC without Central Park?


A park like Chastain improves over time with the involvement of its community. Parks users begin to serve as stewards of the grounds and support groups like the Chastain Park Conservancy in making the park a great destination for all.  A walk in the park becomes part of a weekly routine, where you run into familiar faces and find yourself feeling better about yourself and your community. The CDC agrees, stating that “Even short walks can make a difference – a difference of 100 calories of exercise per person per day—a 20-minute walk—could eliminate the nation’s obesity epidemic”.  2018 is a particular exciting year for the park as it will bring additional low impact activities such as bocce ball courts and added urban farming classes as well as the PATH extension along West Wieuca Road. This year let’s make it our resolution to enjoy the park more.  The opportunities are endless, resolve to take a golf lesson, sign up for an art class, go for a swim, check out the playground, volunteer with a youth sports team, ALTA anyone? run the PATH, take a Farm Chastain Class, enjoy a concert under the stars, volunteer at the therapeutic riding program or maybe let’s just start small by going for a walk. Want to join me?  


Last modified on Wednesday, 10 January 2018 04:55
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