Manchester mayor joins national 10-minute walk to parks campaign

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 10. 2017 8:22PM


MANCHESTER — The Queen City is joining communities across the nation in urging residents to take part in 10-minute walks to parks and green spaces in Manchester.

At 10:10 a.m. Oct. 10, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas joined mayors across the U.S., the Trust for Public Land, the National Recreation and Park Association, and the Urban Land Institute in launching a “10-minute walk” parks advocacy campaign, establishing a goal that all Manchester residents — and all Americans — should have access to a high-quality park or green space within a half-mile — roughly a 10-minute walk — of their homes.

“Manchester has a vibrant parks system and year after year we continue to make investments into our parks, contributing to the high quality of life we enjoy here in the Queen City,” said Gatsas in a statement. “I commend the hard work by the leadership and staff at the city Parks and Recreation Department for their dedication to preserving, improving, and beautifying our green spaces, parks and playgrounds. This mayors’ coalition is a great step forward to work together and ensure everyone has access to a quality park within a close walk of home. This is an important effort and I look forward to participating.”

The bipartisan mayors group includes leaders from across the country, including America’s four largest cities — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. The U.S. Conference of Mayors, representing over 1,000 U.S. mayors, unanimously passed a resolution at its 85th annual meeting urging all mayors to actively pursue the 10-minute walk to a park goal.

Studies show “high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to urban residents and cities themselves,” according to a news release from the Trust for Public Land. These include physical and mental health benefits, economic benefits by boosting business and revitalizing neighborhoods; and community-building benefits by creating opportunities for neighbors to interact with each other and work together to improve the neighborhoods.

The campaign marks the start of a multi-year partnership with cities and mayors across the country. Beginning in 2018, the campaign — led by The Trust for Public Land in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association and the Urban Land Institute — will be working with select cities across the country on measurable policies and strategies to advance the 10-minute walk vision.

“Everyone deserves to have a park within a 10-minute walk — that is why we are in the midst of mapping park access for every city and town across America through our new platform, ParkServe,” said Adrian Benepe, senior vice president and director of city park development for The Trust for Public Land. “We have already mapped more than 100,000 parks in close to 7,700 communities across the country, and as our research shows, more than 100 million Americans currently don’t have access to the countless benefits parks provide. These mayors deserve enormous credit for endorsing the 10-minute walk.”

“Thoughtfully designed parks make a positive difference in the quality of life in communities, serving as a respite, a source of civic pride, and a draw for investment activity,” said Patrick L. Phillips, global chief executive officer for the Urban Land Institute. “We are excited to work with these distinguished mayors and other urban leaders to promote the 10-minute walk campaign and help improve park access in their cities as well as urban areas across the country.”

Over the fall and winter, city Parks Planner Chris Sullivan will work on designs for projects in parks throughout Manchester, including Gateway Park, Veterans Park, Enright Park and Sheehan-Basquil Park. According to parks department officials, over 15,00 visitors used the new Dupont Splash Pad this summer. The splash pad is officially closed for the season.

The full list of mayors endorsing the 10-minute walk idea can be found at 10minutewalk.org.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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