It’s More Than Just a Playground

It’s well known that parks are great for children. Outdoor playgrounds provide a safe place for kids to play.

What may not be as well known about parks is the economic impact they can have on a community. The Trust for Public Land studied the economic impact of park systems and made the following findings:

  1. Homebuyers prefer houses close to parks. Proximity to parks increases property value, and therefore increases property tax revenue. Research of property values shows a 5 percent increase in property values for houses within 500 feet of a park. Along with homeowners, companies often choose to locate in communities that have parks as a means of attracting high-level employees.
  2. Parks decrease health costs. Outdoor play spaces provide no-cost recreation and encourage exercise.
  3. Parks can encourage strong webs of human relationships that lead to stronger and more successful neighborhoods.

An economic resurgence is underway in Hazelwood, and all the play opportunities along the Hazelwood Play Trail will enhance the revitalization

One of the highlights along the Play Trail will be the new KaBOOM! Playspace between Lytle Street and Roma Way.  The project is underway through funding from The Heinz Endowments, and a partnership between the greater Hazelwood community, Hazelwood Initiative, Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, Pittsburgh Association of the Education for Young Children, and KaBOOM!. Community members of all ages gathered in July to discuss design plans. The plans will come to fruition on Sept. 17 when 200 volunteers build the new KaBOOM! Playspace in just one day.

Plans are also underway to turn an old parking lot into the Elizabeth Street Parklet.

“We hope these new play spaces will link all of the new development in Hazelwood to the rest of the community,” said Teresa Pizzella, Play Advocate for the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative.

Next time you drive by a neighborhood park, don’t take it for granted. That slide is a symbol of a thriving community.