How to Plan and Improve a Public Park


A good public park is a beloved neighborhood place that gets a lot of use by families and their pets. This means all the playground parts, from the heavy duty park benches to the plastic tire swing to the dog agility equipment, needs to be kept clean and safe. Read on for some good reasons to keep everything in good order, and some tips on how to do it.

Why Improve Playground Parts and Other Facilities?

  1. Improve things to improve community pride. A community with playground parts and other facilities that are in good order becomes a desirable place to live. When the playground trash cans are clean and regularly emptied, when the tube slide is always in good shape, when all the public facilities are well kept up, residents feel a sense of pride. Cleanliness and order breeds more cleanliness and order, in a cascade effect of rising community standards and community values.
  2. Good facilities help to prevent antisocial behaviors. By providing places for families and responsible pet owners to hang out, the community encourages law-abiding and conscientious people to patronize the public facilities. It also provides healthy alternatives to crime.
  3. Public facilities in good shape improve quality of life. Community residents will spend more time outdoors and encourage their children to do so, as well, when playground parts are safe and clean, and when public parks and other facilities are inviting places. Investment in a quality playground barrier and the right park bench can do a lot more than just make things look neat. It can actually improve quality of life for the whole community.

How Can Public Facilities be Improved?

  1. Involve those who use the facilities. When people in the community help to design, maintain and improve public facilities, they are more likely to use those facilities and to keep them clean. It’s also important to get respected community leaders on board, as well as public officials, so there is support and interest in making sure things like the playground parts are kept up well.
  2. Find out the needs in the community before planning. There are many possible problems to be addressed. Perhaps the local park is too frightening to use after dark or is filled with drug paraphernalia. Maybe the library is too old to be useful. How can you fix these issues, and what can you do to keep them from reoccurring? This is the first step in improving public facilities.
  3. Analyze what you’ve already got in terms of parks and facilities. Where are the parks and how big are they? Are they serving community needs? What shape are they in? Do you need new playground parts for the existing park, or should you be ordering all new sets for a new park? Who is using the existing parks and how? Are there groups or neighborhoods that are not being served? These sorts of questions will help determine next steps.
  4. Start a grassroots process for restoring, upgrading, or creating parks. Without strong community support, you are unlikely to succeed. A citizen coalition or initiative invests the community in the process, increasing interest and funding, while also increasing awareness of the project. It also allows different voices to have a say in design and outlay.
  5. Plan for the long term. Public facilities should be safe and clean, have a mechanism in place for regular monitoring, be sustainable, and be well-managed. Without this sort of planning and follow-through, the most beautifully designed parks in the world will become dirty, broken, and useless in short order.

Public facilities should be designed well in advance, built to be safe, fun, and useful, and there should be a plan in place from the beginning to make sure they stay that way. Then the whole community can benefit.

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