The Trust for Public Land and L.L.Bean Announce Three Recipients of the L.L.Bean Community Award for 2021, to Help Improve Park Equity
The Trust for Public Land, in partnership with outdoor retailer L.L.Bean, has announced the recipients for the third L.L.Bean Community Award, which will support park projects this year.
Projects selected this year in Philadelphia, Chattanooga, and Chiloquin, OR will each receive $50,000 grants for much needed park enhancement. In October of 2018, L.L. Bean announced its partnership with The Trust for Public Land, with a $1 million investment to help create more equitable access to nature so more people enjoy outdoor spaces in their communities.
“We’ve seen this past year just how critical parks and green spaces are for our mental and physical health, and we are more committed than ever to putting nature closer to home in communities across the country,” said Diane Regas, president and CEO of The Trust for Public Land. “Our partnership with L.L.Bean allows us to not only give residents in Philadelphia, Chattanooga, and Chiloquin beautiful outdoor spaces, but helps to ensure these spaces are accessible and equitable to all.”
In Philadelphia, money will be used to transform a portion of the roughly two-acre paved asphalt schoolyard in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of West Philadelphia into a high-quality playground. Cobbs Creek, a community more likely to have residents impacted by lack of green space, contrasts with wealthy adjacent neighborhoods in University City, home to the University of Pennsylvania. The new space at A.B. Anderson Elementary will support mental and physical health with a centrally located multi-use turf field, track, basketball half-court, and play equipment as well as a raingarden to collect stormwater and prevent flooding that previously plagued the school.
The beautiful five-acre Southside Community Park was built in 2017 by the city of Chattanooga in the Alton Park neighborhood but funding will help to add a distinctive playground designed by the neighborhood’s youth to give the community a welcoming place to play and be active. Alton Park’s deep history of environmental injustice, with soil contamination persisting in much of the neighborhood today, has been both a barrier to outdoor engagement and an impetus for advocacy. Southside Community Park is the only park within a 10-minute walk of most Alton Park residents, yet children have nothing to do there, and the park sits empty most days. This grant will provide the final funding needed to construct the play area this community desperately needs.
The currently under resourced schoolyard at Chiloquin Elementary school will be revitalized with walking paths, a covered basketball court, outdoor classroom and restored meadow with native drought tolerant plants, while also serving as a community gathering space. The area surrounding Chiloquin has remarkable natural resources, but opportunities for close to home and accessible recreation and gathering in nature is limited. The 8.5-acre Chiloquin Schoolyard project is located within a 10-minute walk of 98% percent of Chiloquin residents.
“At L.L.Bean, giving back to our communities and ensuring the outdoors is accessible to everyone has always been part of our DNA,” said Shawn Gorman, Executive Chairman of L.L.Bean. “If the past year has taught us anything, it is that the outdoors can have a remarkable impact on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. We’re proud to partner with The Trust for Public Land to ensure that the restorative benefits of being outdoors is more accessible.”
The Trust for Public Land’s data shows that 100 million people, or more than one in three Americans, do not have a park within a 10-minute walk of home. And furthermore, that nationwide, parks that serve majority nonwhite populations are, on average, half as large—45 acres compared to 87 acres—and nearly five times as crowded as parks that serve majority-white populations. L.L.Bean’s investment will continue to support The Trust for Public Land’s movement to put a quality park within a 10-minute walk of every person in America.
Additional grants will continue to be awarded annually through the partnership, given to multiple worthy community projects across the nation, each year for a total of five rounds.
ABOUT L.L.BEAN, INC.
L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe. L.L.Bean is a family-owned Maine company, led by Executive Chairman, Shawn Gorman, the great grandson of Leon Leonwood Bean, and Stephen Smith, President and CEO. While its business has grown over the years, L.L.Bean continues to uphold the values of its founder, including his dedication to quality, customer service and a love of the outdoors. In the past ten years, L.L.Bean has provided over $30 million to non-profit organizations. L.L.Bean currently operates 44 stores in 18 states across the United States, along with 28 stores in Japan. The 220,000-sq. ft. L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, ME, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year. L.L.Bean can be found worldwide at www.llbean.com, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.
ABOUT THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land garden, park or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Visit The Trust for Public Land at www.tpl.org.