Staff from the North Country Healthy Heart Network flew to Colorado earlier this summer to take part in the 2019 Greater & Greener conference, hosted by the City Parks Alliance.
Greater & Greener brings together urban park leaders, city planning and design professionals, public officials, advocates, funders, and innovators to explore the role of parks and recreation in addressing community challenges. The 2019 theme was “Exploring Natural Connections.”
Heart Network program and project coordinators Kat Haney and Andrea Goff attended and brought back lessons that can be replicated in our region.
“We were able to participate in a mobile workshop to Paco Sanchez Park, a newly revitalized playground dedicated to Colorado state legislator, television personality, and Spanish radio station owner Franciso ‘Paco’ Sanchez that features a gramophone slide and microphone-inspired climbing tower,” Haney said. “We gained a better understanding about what makes a truly inclusive playground and strategies for implementing these ideas in our own communities.”
“We also learned about the importance of risk in play and saw some wonderful low-cost playground models that can really help children — and teens — to develop their physical and emotional boundaries,” Haney added.
Goff noted that overall, the conference delivered several consistent messages about designing parks and recreational opportunities that benefit community health:
- Community engagement is key
- Programming inspires community engagement and is a lighter, quicker, cheaper approach
- Communities must build partnerships for a sustainable, collaborative effort
- If you are not at the table, you will not be on the menu
To learn more about about Greater & Greener, click here. To learn how the Heart Network is working with communities in the North Country to implement healthy community design, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Pictured above: Examples of public art improving community spaces.
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