The Value of parks and Trails

Welcome to our second “Wednesday Workshop” where we breakdown the key characteristics of communities with natural charm. Last week, we introduced “The Transect” as a new way of looking at zoning districts that better connect people to the outdoors. In this week’s post, we cover the topic of parks and trails and how they are addressed in the upcoming Community Development Code.

There are multiple studies that prove parks and trails have a positive impact on our environment, economy, and health. One study by the Trust for Public Land, shows a variety of benefits including increased property values, increased tourism, increased physical activity and personal health, community cohesion, reduced stormwater costs, and increased air quality.

To quote our Parks & Recreation Director, Mike Walker, “The value of Parks and Trails is endless. ”It” is what makes a community strong, healthy, impactful and preserves our heritage!”

In keeping with this spirit, Groveland’s new Community Development Code drastically improves how we approach parks and trails in two very important ways.

First, we are increasing the percentage of land to be allocated toward open space to: 15% in the Town, 30% in the Village, and 50% in the Hamlet. Not only are the percentages much higher than they currently are, but developers will no longer be able to use water bodies and wetlands as open space credit.

The second way we are improving parks and trails in the code is by defining a diversity of Open Space Types, including: Greens, Squares, Plazas, Pocket Parks, Mid-block Passages, and Greenway Trails. Each of these types will include their own standards including size, dimensions, and fixtures (such as canopy trees, benches, walk paths, and decorative lighting). More importantly, they all serve a variety of purposes whether it’s going for a bicycle ride, walking your dog, playing with the kids, watching a movie in the park, or sipping coffee and relaxing. New communities will include a mix of these Open Space Types, all within walking distance.

In addition to the improved code standards, we are also preparing a city-wide Parks and Trails Master Plan and rolling out a new Community Greenspace Grant program to help residents enhance open space in existing neighborhoods.

Be sure to check out the image gallery for examples of Open Space Types and a closer look at the draft code standards. Please be on the lookout for more information on these new opportunities and remember to check back in next Wednesday as we continue unveiling elements of the all-new Community Development Code.

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