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Rec Room: Meetings for neighborhood park improvements planned

Aug. 26, 2012 at 3:26 a.m.

Early finishers of the Walk 4 Autism event jog the last stretch of the one and a half mile loop on Saturday at Riverside Park.

By Doug Cochran

Parks play an important role in the viability and livability of a neighborhood community.

Neighborhood parks provide a place for recreation, leisure, social interaction and quality time for families. They also provide a sense of community, where parents can watch their children play and get to know other kids, and neighbors can get to know each other, too.

Playgrounds and open spaces encourage running and active playing, and research shows that the more children have an opportunity to play outside, the healthier they are in many ways - physically, socially and emotionally.

Neighborhood parks serve areas within a half mile radius from homes and are designed to serve the immediate surrounding neighborhood.

Victoria has nine neighborhood parks: Boulevard Park, Brownson Park, Ethel Lee Tracy Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Meadowlane Park, Greenbelt Park, Queen City Park, Ted B. Reed Park and Will Rogers Park.

Our entire Parks and Recreation staff puts their heart and soul into taking care of your local parks. They are focused on improving quality of life and bettering Victoria as a place to work, live and play.

It is important for the Parks and Recreation Department to listen to the needs, wants and concerns that our residents have about their neighborhood parks. Your input is a valuable tool for enhancing current parks and developing future neighborhood parks.

In the coming weeks, the Parks and Recreation Department will begin hosting a series of public meetings at the nine neighborhood parks located throughout the city. Only two public meetings will be hosted this fall.

Staff will be meeting with residents who live in the vicinity of the neighborhood parks listed above to gather input and discuss the amenities, upgrades and recreational needs that residents desire in their neighborhood parks. They will also listen to any concerns that residents have about their neighborhood parks.

The first meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, at Meadowlane Park. During the meeting, residents will discuss what types of playground equipment they would like to see added to the park.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, a public meeting will be at Greenbelt Park to gather citizen input about how they would like to see the park developed in the future.

All citizens are welcome to attend the meetings and share their ideas. This is a good opportunity for residents to have a positive impact on the development of their parks in their immediate area.

If you have not had the opportunity to do so, please visit your neighborhood park, or try to visit some of the other neighborhood parks throughout the city. The more parks you visit, the more people you meet. Frequenting neighborhood parks is a good way to meet others in the area, and it introduces you and your children to other parts of their hometown that they may not visit often.

Doug Cochran is the director of parks and recreation for the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department. Contact him at 361-485-3200 or dcochran@victoriatx.org

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