Ambitious effort to focus on improving Pasadena parks
Pasadena residents have the chance to help improve parks in their community through a project spearheaded by the nonprofit Houston Parks Board and involving the city and other entities.
City residents can give input about how to make parks in the city healthier, more welcoming and accessible through a 15-minute, confidential online survey offered in English and Spanish.
They also are invited June 25 to an initial community workshop for the Healthy Parks Plan. The meeting will be from 6-8 p.m. that Tuesday at PAL Gymnasium, 2910 Southmore Ave.
The community has nearly 50 parks, but according to city officials, fewer than 54 percent of the more than 153,000 Pasadena residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home.
Evidence indicates that close-to-home parks help build social connections, reduce stress and depression, and lower rates of illness. The national nonprofit groups Trust for Public Land and the National Recreation and Parks Association recommend that everyone live within a 1/4 mile or 10-minute walk of a park, said Jed Aplaca, the city’s parks and recreation director.
“Through this, it can be assessed where new parkland is needed,” Aplaca said.
City officials hope improved parks will attract other businesses and workers to the community, improve air and water quality, reduce heat and absorb flood waters.
Partnering with the Houston Parks Board on the effort are the city of Pasadena and the architecture firm Asakura Robinson Co., with funding support from the Houston Endowment and Pasadena Vibrant Community, a program of MD Anderson.
“This partnership with the Houston Parks Board will take our vision to the next level,” Mayor Jeff Wagner said in a statement. “We want all our residents to have access to parks and green spaces — whether it’s for exercise, quiet reflection or quality time with family and friends.”
The online survey asks residents questions such as how often they visit parks in the city, how they get to and use the parks and what factors prevent or discourage their use of parks. Other questions cover what programs and facilities people would like to see offered and what they see as priorities for funding.
Through community engagement and data analysis, the plan aims to identify the best opportunities for new parks, park improvements, park programming, and park funding and maintenance.
“All of this information will be gathered together, analyzed and ultimately used for a master plan for the city of Pasadena to adopt as plans to move forward and provide healthy parks for the citizens of Pasadena,” Aplaca said.
The projects will take 12-18 months to complete, with the goal of finishing the work in the summer or fall of 2020, he said.
Community engagement in Spanish and English also will include community workshops, interviews, focus groups, intercept surveys and a demographically representative telephone poll.
Those who stay connected to the project through www.pasadenahealthyparks.com will have a chance to win a $50 cash card.