Three innovative ways we’re growing green space in cities

By Trust for Public Land
Published April 2, 2019

Three innovative ways we’re growing green space in cities

In Cleveland, planting trees is the first step of a long journey to create welcoming green space in a public housing community. In Chicago, a dilapidated mini golf course is being reimagined as fields of opportunity. And in Boston, a neighborhood is ready to tear down the wall that separates them from their riverfront.

We believe everyone needs a great park within a 10-minute walk of their home—and for nearly fifty years, we’ve worked in communities across the country to bring that vision to life. But we also know that planning, funding, and building a brand new park can take years. And for the neighborhoods where safe, welcoming parks are too few and far between, that’s too long to wait. So we’re also getting creative, helping people find the potential in the green spaces they already have.

We have big dreams for the future of parks in America—and we’re grateful for support from partners who do too. Today, we’re excited to tell you more about the first three projects supported by a generous gift from L.L.Bean.

A girl wearing a backpack from L.L.Bean climbs a playgroundAs an outdoor retail company dedicated to helping people enjoy the outdoors, L.L.Bean believes spending time in nature—whether for a day or a moment—enriches our lives.Photo credit: The Trust for Public Land

Lakeview Terrace in Cleveland is one of the nation’s original public housing developments. Today it’s home to over 3,000 people—but the options for playing outside are slim. We’ve worked alongside residents to plan trail connections to Lake Erie, creating a safe walking pathway to the lakefront. While those investments take root, we’re also helping residents reimagine the open spaces within Lakeview Terrace. This month, we’re helping residents plant dozens of trees throughout the development. Local artists are also helping design a custom bike rack and liven up the basketball courts with fresh murals—and we’re looking forward to a basketball tournament this summer to celebrate.

In Boston’s Mattapan neighborhood, a century-old stone wall has separated the neighborhood from the banks of the Neponset River. The forested riverfront packs tons of potential as an oasis of nature in the city—but because of the barricade, today that potential is unrealized. So we’re helping Mattapan residents plan a location to break through the wall and build a new trail from the heart of the neighborhood to the banks of the Neponset. Over 4,000 people live within a 10-minute walk of the riverfront

The mini-golf course at Chicago’s Douglas Park was once a fun community asset. But today, it’s fallen into disrepair, and residents say it’s more of an eyesore than a benefit. So we’re working with a group of neighborhood youth and their artist and architect mentors to redesign and rebuild the course. The first step? Study the birds and bird habitats around the park to inform the course’s planned bird theme. Throughout the project, participants will work as field biologists, artists, architects, project managers, budget directors, fabricators, marketers, and community organizers. We’re looking forward to joining neighborhood residents for a round of mini-golf once the project wraps up this fall.

Mini golfIn Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, we’re working with neighborhood kids to rebuild a mini-golf course in Douglas Park. Photo credit: Courtney Boyd Meyers

As an outdoor retail company dedicated to helping people enjoy the outdoors together, L.L.Bean shares our values: we both believe that spending time in nature—whether for a day or a moment—enriches our lives and makes us feel rejuvenated, healthier, and happier. In support of our vision to put a quality park within a 10-minute walk of every person in America, L.L.Bean has created the Community Fund Award, which will support innovative projects like these across the nation for years to come.

“At L.L.Bean, we’ve always been about trying to get more people outside, whether it’s a paddle down a remote river or a hike on a nearby neighborhood trail,” says L.L.Bean Executive Chair Shawn Gorman. “The Trust for Public Land shares in this mission with the great work they do to create green spaces, as well as preserve those that already exist. We’re very proud to be partnering with The Trust for Public Land to promote our common goals of improving access to the outdoors for all.”

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One-third of Americans, including 28 million children, lack safe, easy access to a park within a 10-minute walk of home. Urge your senators to allocate funding to create parks and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities by championing the Outdoors for All Act today!

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