The Hidden Treasures of Park Space
We don’t always think of our park spaces as valuable resources. Many days we don’t think about them at all, being so caught up in the small details of everyday life, but they hold many unsuspectingly valuable features that are often completely overlooked. Did you know that your home could be worth more just because it is located close to a park? Did you know that certain plants and trees reduce storm water run-off and can process polluted water before it ever reaches the sewer plant? Did you know that walking in a park can improve your mood and lower your blood pressure? Not only do parks provide us with a leisurely gathering place, but they also contribute to the health and vitality of our communities.
Property values are a defining asset for communities. People make buying and selling decisions based on a neighborhood’s property values, and various studies have found that the value of a home increases the closer it is to park lands. Studies have also shown that green communities are especially inviting to those who are considering a change of address, and that the availability of green spaces in a given area can substantially effect the amount of tax revenue a municipality brings in year to year. Expanding and improving green spaces can be an effective way to attract and retain a healthy residential population, as people who visit their local parks often feel a more heightened sense of neighborhood satisfaction than those who do not.
Parks give communities an ecological advantage, as well as an economic one. Impervious surfaces, such as roof tops, parking lots, and roads are not able to absorb water. When heavy rains fall, water runs off impervious surfaces, picking up debris and pollution as it makes its way to ditches and streams. The prevalence of trees and green space minimize the effects of runoff and pollution by absorbing the fast moving water before it ever enters the waterways. Since runoff is very dirty and causes erosion, green space provides invaluable protection from pollutants and contamination in our water systems. Green space can also prevent flooding, and eases the burden put on sewer systems after large storms.
There are also many health and social benefits of having park lands in your neighborhood. Some of the health benefits that can be reaped from just walking in a park or green space include boosted metabolism, higher self-esteem, reduced mental fatigue, and reduced levels of stress or anxiety to mention a few. Open green space facilitates community gatherings, bringing all ages together to enjoy the outdoors and strengthen neighborly bonds.
Parks provide an escape away from the electronic world, and foster positive activities and behaviors. Green space is economically, environmentally, and socially beneficial for communities, and provides free recreational opportunities to all people. Whether you like to seriously exercise or just enjoy a relaxing walk, local parks are fantastic amenities to connect you with the outdoors. Here in Euclid, we are fortunate to have many different parks, equipped with everything from playgrounds and basketball courts to fishing opportunities. You can find a map of all the parks in Euclid on the back cover of the Euclid Recreation guide booklet.
For more information about the benefits of parks and green space, please visit the following websites: https://www.clevelandmetroparks.com, http://www.nrpa.org, http://depts.washington.edu/hhwb, http://www.georgewright.org, https://www.npca.org
Maria Palmisano works for Euclid Recreation as a program administrator.