Can Public Spaces Make Healthier Communities?

waterway park kckThe following is an excerpt from a post written by Steve Curtis, director of community building and engagement at Community Housing of Wyandotte County, a tireless downtown KCK champion and longtime friend of Downtown Shareholders. "I recently read an article by Alex Smith, "Can Restoring Parks Lead to Better Health in Wyandotte County," which mentions Waterway Park as an example of a park making a comeback in downtown Kansas City, Kan. What is not mentioned is that the revitalization of Waterway Park was made possible by nonprofit agencies, grant funding, a few thousand hours of volunteer labor and summer programming.

Community Housing of Wyandotte County wrote grants, recruited volunteers to plant trees, add landscaping and install benches; put in a bike rack and nighttime illumination. We added wheelchair accessibility, started walking clubs, and provided weekly art classes in the summer. They also partnered with the Latino Health for All Coalition nonprofit organization to help fund a soccer field. The Parks Department installed workout stations and the YMCA held soccer clinics and provided personal trainers to help residents get the most benefit from the stations. Free Wheels for Kids, another nonprofit, held clinics and helped bring bike races to the park. Today, Waterway Park is a shining example of what a neighborhood park can be when the residents and community organizations are engaged in community building."

Head to Steve's website to read the rest of his post.

Image via Steve Curtis