Open Space for Public Schools and Community

by Susan Schmidt | Apr 03, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

I think that Saint Paul and its public school system should explore opportunities to extend the usage of existing open space and fields that surround Saint Paul Schools. Currently, these spaces focus on serving school children, and shared usage of the land would more greatly serve the residents in the larger community as well as the schools. Years ago it made sense to have single-purpose school fields that were used only during the school year. However, as our population increases in the city, these lands could supplement publicly accessible parkland in all neighborhoods. As part of evaluating school lands for additional use, an assessment of potential improvements could be made that would encompass changes that would enhance the impact beyond simply access to public space. For example, green infrastructure improvements could be made as general open space improvements are made.

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation has a mission to help make Saint Paul the most livable city in America with the creation of active lifestyles, vibrant places, and a vital environment. What better way to create opportunities for activity than by extending the use of existing outdoor space at neighborhood schools? Schools are already serving the neighborhood and are familiar landmarks where the local population should feel comfortable.

In order to identify appropriate school lands for shared use and year-round programming, a project team could be created to conduct a feasibility study, manage relationships between the city, the school system, and the neighborhoods, and provide project support and best practices.

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

Open Space for Public Schools and Community

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

I think that Saint Paul and its public school system should explore opportunities to extend the usage of existing open space and fields that surround Saint Paul Schools. Currently, these spaces focus on serving school children, and shared usage of the land would more greatly serve the residents in the larger community as well as the schools. Years ago it made sense to have single-purpose school fields that were used only during the school year. However, as our population increases in the city, these lands could supplement publicly accessible parkland in all neighborhoods. As part of evaluating school lands for additional use, an assessment of potential improvements could be made that would encompass changes that would enhance the impact beyond simply access to public space. For example, green infrastructure improvements could be made as general open space improvements are made.
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation has a mission to help make Saint Paul the most livable city in America with the creation of active lifestyles, vibrant places, and a vital environment. What better way to create opportunities for activity than by extending the use of existing outdoor space at neighborhood schools? Schools are already serving the neighborhood and are familiar landmarks where the local population should feel comfortable.
In order to identify appropriate school lands for shared use and year-round programming, a project team could be created to conduct a feasibility study, manage relationships between the city, the school system, and the neighborhoods, and provide project support and best practices.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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

The approach is innovative because the city, the school system, and the neighborhoods would work together to define solutions to meet the needs of our growing urban population. I know of no other integrated approach that allows for collaboration among these stakeholders. By working with an external project manager experienced in city park-making and programming, Saint Paul could support participation by all three parties and let a neutral advisor help navigate towards a new approach for improving, better utilizing, and sharing school land for recreation and park usage.

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 greatest impact will be felt in park-poor neighborhoods where access to green space is challenging. By evaluating school lands across the city, resources can be used in a more targeted fashion. In addition to opening up recreation opportunities, it’s possible that land sharing arrangements could provide additional financial income for Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) through land-use agreements. SPPS already has a community education program into which land-use sharing could be integrated. The land-use program could be crafted with Challenge funds so that it is a fully-crafted, turnkey program that may be handed off to SPPS for future management.

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)

The program is sustainable because the initial research would determine what neighborhoods to target so that efforts are neither duplicated by other city programs nor unwanted by neighborhoods or the schools. Saint Paul Public Schools would also benefit from a shared-use program as it could provide additional income for the schools. Because the initial investment would not create new buildings, instead investing in improvements and access to existing outdoor space, this idea cost-effectively builds upon neighborhood interest.

bhjhgj hgjjg said: Public schools really need a lot of space. It will help them concentrate in their studies. - YOR Health about this Competition Entry. - 2634 days ago read more >

Susan Schmidt updated this Competition Entry. - 2856 days ago

Susan Schmidt submitted this idea. - 2856 days ago