There are many studies, and more each day, that demonstrate that Parks and Recreation are critical to the health and well-being of communities. A recent study, using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, suggests that parks have a unique capacity to enhance multiple components of well -being, such as physical health and sense of community.
Parks, playgrounds, greenways, trails, community open spaces, recreational and arts programs help keep communities fit, healthy, and happy. In Edmonds, that includes almost 1000 different recreational programs throughout the year, 370 acres of parks and open space land within the City of Edmonds, and a robust arts program.
A recent study, commissioned by the National Parks and Recreation Association found that 83 percent of Americans personally benefit from local parks; 92 percent say their community benefits from local parks; every four out of five Americans agree that local parks are worth the tax dollars spent on them.
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts support increased exercise, healthier lifestyles, improvement of psychological and social health, conservation of the environment, increase social equity in a community, economic impact, and increased strength of a community. When communities gather together, they get to know each other, trust each other and look out for each other.
The City of Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department takes its responsibility to provide these benefits seriously. This past year, the city worked with a community group to create a Veteran’s Plaza downtown; replaced the Frances Anderson Center Bandshell to help support performances; and partnered with the City of Lynnwood to revitalize the Meadowdale Playfields, which provide two new multipurpose fields and three softball fields.
In addition, the city established a new partnership with Sound Salmon Solutions, to continue operating the fish hatchery and provide salmon education to the community.
With growing demand, the city also added pickle ball courts at Yost park, more art enhanced flower basket poles, started an economic impact of Arts and Culture study which should be completed soon, and added some interpretive signs on Sunset Avenue and Yost Park.
In 2018, the city will be partnering with the Senior Center to redevelop the waterfront in front of the newly planned community center. This will open up the beachfront, reintroduce beach habitat, and connect the walkway, so that there will be a continuous walkway all the way from Marina Beach Park to Brackett’s Landing North.
Also in 2018, the city will be removing the grandstand at Civic Park and beginning the design development for the 8 acre signature park downtown, recently master planned. This park will include a full size athletic field with lights, an informal field area for drop in play, a 1/3 mile walking path around the perimeter, a play area, skate park, pétanque courts, tennis court and pickle ball courts, picnic area and a large entrance/gathering area on 6th avenue.
In addition, the city will be replacing the play area at the Frances Anderson Center. We will be continuing work on the Fishing Pier center joint repair, the design of Willow Creek daylighting through the Marsh, the replacement of the City gateway sign on SR 104, and partnering with Earthcorps to continue stewardship projects around Edmonds. The city will also continue a strong partnership with the Student Conservation Association to offer a youth employment program in our parks during the summer months.
So, whether you hike the trails at Yost Park, run along the waterfront, swim at Yost pool during the summer, bike on the shared roadways, play pickle ball at the Frances Anderson Center or the new outdoor courts at Yost park, learn how to play pétanque at Civic Park, go crabbing off the Fishing Pier, participate in a moonlight beach adventure, compete in the sand sculpting contest, attend one of the summer concerts at City Park, take your kids to the Edmonds health and fitness expo in May, go to a movie night during the summer, encourage your kids to pull/push/climb/jump on any of the various playgrounds throughout the City, anticipate the super soaker water bucket dump at the Hazel Miller Spray pad, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department wants you to experience your community and find your healthy and happy self.
— By Carrie Hite, Director, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, City of Edmonds