Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Pocket parks--another part of NW Arkansas' quality of life equation
As my regular readers know, I write a lot about the high quality of life in NW Arkansas. And the reason is that there's a lot here to make living enjoyable. I have lived here for over 20 years now, and there's always some new idea or development to improve things and make life better for residents of the area. The newest manifestation of this tendency that I have become aware of is the recognition that pocket parks are an important part of the development strategies here.
The definition of pocket parks is as varied as the spaces they occupy and the amenities they offer. Some pocket parks are made up of paved ground with manufactured play stations for children. Other parks might offer natural green surfaces enhanced with tables and seating for picnicking or communing with nature. Perhaps a park might have a water feature such as a stream or a river bank. Some offer walking trails, pavilions, or zip lines.
Two things the parks have in common are the fact that the parks are small in size compared to what we generally think of as a park and that they generally serve pedestrians. Many of the parks do not offer parking for vehicles.
The parks provide opportunities for exercise, rest and reflection, recreation, and socialization. They enhance neighborhoods by providing comfortable and accessible places for neighbors to meet and engage in activities.
The parks serve the areas in which they are located. Often the park is custom made to provide solutions to local wants and needs. Some parks are built specifically with adults in mind and do not contain children’s playground apparatus.
In addition to some of these spaces within neighborhoods and subdivisions, Bentonville already has several: Austin-Baggett Park, Enfield Park, Gilmore Park, Northwest A Street Park and Wildwood Park. Rogers lists 7 neighborhood parks on its parks webpage, and Springdale has one planned near Shiloh Square, adjacent to the Razorback Greenway. Many of the 35 parks and other natural spaces in Fayetteville can also be included in these definitions.
Pocket parks are not a new concept. They started originally in inner cities like New York where there was little green space and have spread to suburban areas. There may be one located near you or soon coming to your area. Enjoy...