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    City Parks Blog is a joint effort of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance to chronicle the news and issues of the urban park movement. Read more about us.
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Joint-Use Agreements- Best Practices

By Erin Cameron

In the interest of providing a quality park within a 10-minute walk from all, the Center for City Park Excellence conducted research in joint-use agreements. To do this, the Center gathered 33 agreements from 20 of the largest US cities and analyzed the best practices within those agreements. A joint-use agreement (JUA) binds school districts or independent schools with their local government for the maintenance and usage of parkland. Communities benefit because they often lack funding and land for new parks, limiting opportunities for growth of public spaces in dense and low-income neighborhoods. JUAs allow the community to capitalize on existing schools with playgrounds and fields without further development and spending. While The Center primarily focuses on the practices of cities, in rural areas where funding is limited JUAs offer the same benefits as they do in dense urban regions. The Center encourages cities and school districts interested in adopting a JUA to use the below practices in their agreements, as well as mimicking the most adaptable and useful agreement from the City of Durham. The Center published its findings in this post, as well as further research and notable cases. Continue reading

Frontline Park: Western Gateway Park

WGPthmbEach month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. This month, City Parks Alliance has named Western Gateway Park a Frontline Park.  Continue reading

Please take our ParkScore survey

Do you have a few minutes?

Can you take our ParkScore survey?

The Trust for Public Land has produced ParkScore for the last six years and we’re looking for feedback as well as informing it’s future directions.  Please take a few minutes and complete our survey – and thank you!

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And if you’re unaware of ParkScore, please check it out. The Trust for Public Land puts out an annual ranking of park systems of the 100 largest US cities.

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Let’s Pass a Law to Fund Urban Greenspaces

By Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro)

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There’s nothing like greenspace for improving our quality of life.

Unfortunately, too many families and children are denied access to a neighborhood park. They may also lack recreational facilities like basketball courts.

Greenspaces and outdoor recreation aren’t luxuries. The most livable cities are dotted by parks, and they return countless health and economic benefits. Recreation brings out people from across the community. Urban open spaces make areas more appealing to live and invest in.

Continue reading

Atlanta Parks Visit

by Charlie McCabe

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The great lawn at Piedmont Park in Atlanta

In late June, I visited Atlanta, participating in a forum on Atlanta’s Parks hosted by Park Pride as well as several meetings organized by the Trust for Public Land’s Georgia office. Sadly, it was raining much of one of the two days that I was there, but I still managed to get out and see a number of Atlanta’s parks.

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Charlie presenting at the Park Pride forum. Yes, there were lots of charts, tables and maps. 😉

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Mural along the Beltline

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Amazing Sculpture/Swings at Piedmont Park

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Sprayground at Historic Fourth Ward Park (it was raining, so not many people out there….)

While Atlanta is ranked 50th in ParkScore, it continues to add parkland and build out a number of parks, including the Atlanta Beltline, and the forthcoming Cook Park, which is a current Trust for Public Land project, which recently held a groundbreaking.  I managed to explore a portion of the Beltline (between early evening downpours) as well as Piedmont Park, some of the Olmsted Brothers developed neighborhoors as well as Historic Fourth Ward Park.

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Rainy evening along the Beltline, with more artwork.

Our Trust for Public Land team in Georgia is working hard on both Cook Park as well as the Chattahoochee River Corridor in Atlanta.

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A big part of the function of Historic Fourth Ward Park is managing stormwater runoff, which is does really well.

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A view of the storm water ponds and system at Historic Fourth Ward Park.

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wildflowers and more murals along the Beltline

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Amazingly awesome slides at Piedmont Park.