Community parks have always been a place to find benches for the comfort of those in the neighborhood to take a quick respite from their afternoon stroll. They also afford the opportunity to sit and people watch. These parks encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be basketball, baseball or tennis. Skate parks have made their mark in many local parks these days and city residents can enjoy what their town’s Recreation Department has to offer as well. After all, it is our tax dollars paying for these city parks.
Unfortunately, some of our city budgets have gotten sidelined on the bench. In these tough economic times, we are seeing more and more cities having to scale back on the pleasurable amenities available at parks. This is due to the cost of upkeep, management expense and not to mention the occasional graffiti and vandalism striking such lovely public places.
Taking it to a national level for a moment, popular national parks have had to close their doors due to such governmental budget cuts. Isn’t it ironic that in a society that does what it can to promote health and well-being finds itself not always being able to attain the means to keep safe paths open for walking or keeping basketball or tennis courts lit in the evenings for all to get some needed exercise?
One solution that deserves attention is that many states have implemented a regulation of no smoking at state parks. Many cities followed suit and applied the same rule to their city parks. This cuts down on the litter smokers leave behind, not to mention the hazards of a lit cigarette butt.
Another answer to the disappearing community parks problem is donors. You have probably come across a bench, garden or walkway that is dedicated to someone on behalf of community donors. For instance, a tennis bench on a tennis court, you may find, was placed there through the altruistic means of a local neighbor who wanted all to enjoy the facilities. There have been some shady trees planted in parks that were dedicated to some loved one that died. We can certainly appreciate such gifts to our neighborhood.
The New York Times recently reported in June 2012 on the new, innovative adult-only parks, an ideaborrowed from China and some European countries. There are already adult-only parks located in California and New York. These are basically parks that have equipment designed for adults. In some instances it is adult-sized exercise equipment such as seen in a gym, but it is housed outdoors.
Some say having such a park makes it more fun to exercise. How’s that for an anti-obesity measure?! Can you see yourself swinging on the monkey bars, but made for your size? Chin up bars are always good for muscle toning which adults would never be able to use on a tot lot. These adult-only parks are very welcome in an era when the New York city code does not allow adults without children in any city park. Surprisingly, adult parks can cost much less than children’s parks. Unbeknownst to most, children’s parks have many stipulations from shade precautions, to material the equipment is made of and far more numerous safety standards.
The popularity is catching on. In addition to California and New York, these special parks are beginning to surface in Florida and Washington. They are fun and easy to use with no gym fee incurred by the user. With all this activity going on at outdoor parks, no wonder there’s no time to be sitting on the bench.
Dee Adams, who majored in Public Administration, is a freelance writer from San Diego, CA who enjoys covering topics on sports, health and all around good living. Being a tennis enthusiast since 1998 has paved the road for her to embrace the sport that is fun to play and watch.
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