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Fairmount Park and Coolidge Park Are April’s “Frontline Parks”

Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes two “Frontline Parks“ to promote inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship across the country in the face of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay.

April’s selections highlight the positive changes good parks bring to cities.

Park improvements can be cost-efficient catalysts for urban revitalization.  Small-scale improvements spur greater civic engagement, leading to even more neighborhood improvements outside the park boundary.   At the other end of the spectrum, some cities have converted entire swaths of industrial or commercial lands into park spaces. Once-secluded riverfronts have become urban front yards, and derelict spaces in central business districts have become green community anchors.  These changes have stimulated even greater retail, cultural, and commercial investments while serving as new centerpieces of civic pride.  This month’s featured parks demonstrate how change, both small and large-scale, can create parks that transform communities.

Having some fun in the California sun

Fairmount Park's universally accessible playground

Fairmount Park in Riverside, California is a 250-acre refuge designed in 1911 by the Olmsted Brothers firm.  Like many older parks, Fairmount Park experienced decades of decline and deterioration.  The rise in crime and homeless encampments kept residents away.  Ten years ago, the city and its citizens decided to take back their park.  After a series of physical improvements and new cultural programming, residents returned to the park by the thousands.  Building on that success, the city and partners such as The Arc of Riverside County, created a 25,000 square-foot Universally Accessible Playground.  This change has inspired a new gold standard for inclusion and assures that all its citizens can fully enjoy Fairmont Park.  Site furnishings in the park were manufactured by DuMor Inc.

Summer Movies

"Finding Nemo" at Coolidge Park

Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee was once a military reserve unit site.  Today, the seven-acre park on the north shore of the Tennessee River serves as the centerpiece for revitalization in that area of downtown Chattanooga.  The park includes attractions such as outdoor stages, an interactive fountain, and a restored antique carousel.  Programming includes the city’s annual Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks and many other outdoor programs and festivals.  The park is connected by pedestrian bridge to the city’s successful south shore green space development that includes Ross’ Landing and the Tennessee Aquarium.  Since Coolidge Park opened in 1998, a cultural district and residential development have blossomed adjacent to it.  By changing the use of the riverfront property to an urban park, Chattanooga has created an economic engine fueled by good, green fun.

Frontline Parks is generously supported by DuMor, Inc. and PlayCore.

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