Rejuvenating Through Parks

Rejuvenating Neighborhoods and Communities Through Parks—A Guide To Success National Recreation and Park Association © 2011 All Rights Reserved 1 Executive Summary Unleashing the Potential of Parks for Revitalizing Neighborhoods and Communities The practice of developing or redeveloping parks and open spaces, which become catalysts for revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, is spreading throughout the United States Some examples: • Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, D C , once known as “Needle Park” due to drug use and sales, has been restored to a place for children to play and neighbors to gather • High Line Park in New York City, characterized by an abandoned, elevated rail spur overlooking the Hudson River, has become a first-class urban amenity for the three neighborhoods it crosses • Lou Walker Park, a three-acre park located next to a stormwater drainage ditch in DeKalb County, Georgia, was renovated for use as a playground site with “playground graduates” moving on to attend a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) program during the summer months Inspiration and Information for Revitalizing Parks and Neighborhoods The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) created this toolkit in support of citizens living in communities across the country, advocates supporting the public park movement, and public park and recreation agencies All these groups can play a significant role in park renovation and neighborhood revitalization Recognizing the uniqueness of each neighborhood and community as well as the variations in the roles of citizens, advocates, and agencies, this toolkit is intended to provide both inspiration for moving park projects forward and information related to techniques and strategies that help assure the success of such efforts This toolkit is organized into seven sections • Recalling the Concept. There was a time when parks and community centers played a key role in neighborhood and community well-being This section recalls that role and provides evidence of the renewed impact of parks and open space in today’s society • From Concept to Catalyst. This section explores various roles that individuals, community groups, and professionals can play—serving as catalysts for park projects that result in community revitalization • Information as Foundation and Springboard. Gathering information about a neighborhood and its residents serves as a foundation for making better choices and provides a basis for securing funding and resources for the project This section focuses on securing information from existing sources • Neighborhood Insights and Ideas. The potential for a park project to bring community revitalization is closely related to the genuine involvement of people living in the area Both more traditional methods as well as newer approaches to insight gathering are included in this section • Input to Implementation Integrating the information, input, and ideas into a workable plan for resource development and implementation of the project is naturally a key aspect for success This section addresses that process