To the Editor,

The Red Oak Soccer Association (ROGH) and the Red Oak Baseball/Softball Association (ROBSA) have united in our endorsement of the General Obligation Parks Bond Proposition. Below are several reasons our great city of Red Oak needs and wants this proposed community park. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you reasons we believe this bond should be passed and ask you, the voters of Red Oak, to sincerely approve this proposition.

Public parks and recreational facilities in communities like Red Oak throughout the country offer countless value to its citizens. Below, we have outlined the benefits a community park in Red Oak will provide.

• Sense of Community: Recreational park support collaboratively unites residents by providing a sense of community while improving our quality of life in a shared environment. A community park provides a location to walk, rest or play and also creates a shared location for events such as farmers markets, shopping, food and entertainment. The proposed park will allow our children the freedom to enjoy the outdoors while providing a controlled, safe environment.

• Economic Impact: Parks have true economic benefits. City parks provide meaningful resources that promote a stronger sense of community. The revitalization process will give retailers an opportunity to augment on the city’s ongoing vitality while homeowners begin to feel confident in renovating and upgrading their surroundings.

• Property Values: It is proven that private property values increase and even more so for the value of privately owned land in close proximity to parks. This increase in private property value due to the proximity to parks increases tax revenues and local economies. According to Crompton, a Texas A&M study revealed that property values were higher in areas located near parks (Crompton, 2001). “The real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a larger amount for property located close to parks and open space areas than for a home that does not offer this amenity (Crompton, 2001).

• Community Life: Community life is depicted as parks that act as neighborhood meeting places, recreational activity centers and lunch-time picnic spots for residents and neighbors. According to Brill, communities that embrace community life have residents who live in one community longer, become more involved in social relationships which then attracts more higher-quality retail, food, entertainment and professional services (2001). Local small businesses will also see an increase in traffic they would not normally see without this park. Visiting teams, local and non-local families will likely be spending money on restaurants, hotels, retail stores that are proven to increase local business sales and jobs in our area.

• Community Engagement: The American Planning Association (APA) states that creating green spaces such as parks creates gathering places where neighbors form social ties produces stronger and safer neighborhoods with fewer violent property crimes (2007). Social interactions are critical to maintaining community cohesion and pride. This park will not only provide a place for many to play and enjoy, but will also provide a safe environment where community members can develop social ties, and where healthy behavior is modeled and admired. People gather to share experience, socialize and to build community bonds in common green spaces. Public commons are often the glue that hold communities together to maintain and improve future positive interactions.

• Social Benefits: Community recreational services provide a refuge of safety for our at-risk youth. Many parents are rightfully concerned with the dangers of unstructured “hang-outs” or unsupervised after-school activities. Community programs at public parks and recreational facilities provide children with a safe refuge and a place to play, which are important in reducing at-risk behavior such as drug use and gang involvement. Recreational programs lead by trained leaders offer children healthy role models that builds life lessons to steer our youth towards a future of promise, opportunity and success.

As previously stated, the proposed community park will create safer neighborhoods, promote public health, increase tourism and engage community residents. The importance of approving this proposition is not only vital to our social and economic investments for today, but necessary to achieve the vision for our tomorrow.

“Green oases offers refuge from alienating city streets, it is a place where we can rediscover our natural roots and reconnect with our souls” (Sherer, 2006, p. 24).

 

References

American Planning Association. (2007). Making great communities happen. Retrieved from https://www.planning.org/cityparks/briefingpapers/saferneighborhoods.htm

Brill, M. (2001). Mistaking community life for public life. Places. 14, 1.

Crompton, J. (2001). The impact of parks on property values: A review of the empirical evidence. Journal Of Leisure Research, 33(1), 1-31.

Sherer, P. (2006). The benefit of parks: Why America needs more city parks and open space. Retrieved from http://www.eastshorepark.org/benefits_of_parks%20tpl.pdf

Red Oak Soccer Association (ROGH) and

Red Oak Baseball/Softball Association (ROBSA)