Improve Parks Across the City

by Susan Schmidt | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Saint Paul is a beautiful city with seventeen diverse neighborhoods full of vibrant people. Because parks contribute to community health and vibrancy, I would create a park improvement fund for each neighborhood. The initiative would operate like a neighborhood-specific, park-driven version of Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Revitalization Program.

The beauty of this plan is that all of Saint Paul would benefit. The improvement fund brings city-wide participation but allows for a diversity of perspectives so that the work undertaken will truly serve each neighborhood. Each community would be engaged to decide what is most beneficial for their parks, whether it is to redesign an existing park or to install new equipment in a currently unused space. The possibilities are exciting as each community discovers what will serve them best.

With guidance and support from an overarching implementing organization, neighborhoods could choose park improvement projects that are best for their community. Some may find a need for more community gathering spaces and others may decide a fitness zone is better. A neighborhood could transform one of the nearly two dozen “mini-parks” across the city into a gathering space. Or maybe a neighborhood would upgrade one of the three dozen larger neighborhood parks with the addition of playground equipment or the replacement of unsafe and unused equipment. As plans are being made, residents could also opt to use principles from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) which has been shown to discourage crime and improve the quality of life.

About You

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About You

First Name

Susan

Last Name

Schmidt

City

County

Country

United States

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Jenna Fletcher, Linden Weirswerda, Hilary Smith

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Via press coverage

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

The Trust for Public Land

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

2610 University Ave W, Ste 300

City

St. Paul

Organization Country

United States, MN

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Improve Parks Across the City

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

Saint Paul is a beautiful city with seventeen diverse neighborhoods full of vibrant people. Because parks contribute to community health and vibrancy, I would create a park improvement fund for each neighborhood. The initiative would operate like a neighborhood-specific, park-driven version of Minneapolis’ Neighborhood Revitalization Program.
The beauty of this plan is that all of Saint Paul would benefit. The improvement fund brings city-wide participation but allows for a diversity of perspectives so that the work undertaken will truly serve each neighborhood. Each community would be engaged to decide what is most beneficial for their parks, whether it is to redesign an existing park or to install new equipment in a currently unused space. The possibilities are exciting as each community discovers what will serve them best.
With guidance and support from an overarching implementing organization, neighborhoods could choose park improvement projects that are best for their community. Some may find a need for more community gathering spaces and others may decide a fitness zone is better. A neighborhood could transform one of the nearly two dozen “mini-parks” across the city into a gathering space. Or maybe a neighborhood would upgrade one of the three dozen larger neighborhood parks with the addition of playground equipment or the replacement of unsafe and unused equipment. As plans are being made, residents could also opt to use principles from Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) which has been shown to discourage crime and improve the quality of life.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The idea is innovative because it’s a city-wide approach to improving public parks and greenspace that includes individual neighborhood input and engagement along with project mentorship to improve Saint Paul’s parks at a very local scale. The idea promotes city-wide equity – all neighborhoods would be included. In addition to the benefits of the tangible, physical work, community cohesion would be built by bringing diverse people together to work towards a common goal. Each individual neighborhood’s vision would differ from the others as to what will fit in best with residents’ needs and that makes the concept inventive.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The impact will be felt across all of Saint Paul. Strengthening the parks in each neighborhood will build civic pride; as a result Saint Paul will be stronger. Involving people in the decision-making process means an investment of community time and energy, which helps with the long-term sustainability and use of parks.

In addition to building community, investing in local parks should improve health. Studies show that children living within two-thirds mile of a playground are more likely to have a healthy body weight, and children who spend time outdoors are up to 41% less likely to be overweight.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

My idea is sustainable because it sets up a community-driven process. After this initial investment, the seventeen neighborhoods of Saint Paul are empowered and will have a renewed focus on parks and stewardship of their parks. In fact, the process could encourage the creation of “Friends of ABC Park” groups in order to continue stewardship long after the improvement funds are spent. Beginning with the neighborhood’s vision, working with a project mentor, moving into the participatory design process, and creating a stewardship program, the parks will be brought to life by the community.

bhjhgj hgjjg said: We are all aware of any changes happening around us. It will help us to be more vigilant. - YOR Health about this Competition Entry. - 2627 days ago read more >

Susan Schmidt updated this Competition Entry. - 2849 days ago

Susan Schmidt submitted this idea. - 2849 days ago