Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 12, 2022

City accelerates efforts to increase access to parks

The South Chickamauga Creek Greenway stretches from the Tennessee River to Camp Jordan. The Trust for Public Land’s 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator will aim to make the greenway accessible to more residents. - Photo by David Laprad | Hamilton County Herald

The city of Chattanooga has formed a partnership with Trust for Public Land’s 10-Minute Walk Park Equity Accelerator, a new initiative designed to expand residents’ access to parks.

The TPL launched the 10-Minute Walk campaign to help cities ensure every resident can access a park or green space no farther than a 10-minute walk from their home.

TPL’s ParkServe database shows only 39% of Chattanooga residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park and only 8% of the city’s land is used for parks – compared to the national median of 15%.

Chattanooga joins Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Los Angeles; and Scranton, Pennsylvania in the inaugural cohort of the initiative, which will provide resources and technical assistance over a period of 12-15 months.

“Quality parks and green spaces advance the mental and physical health of our communities, revitalize our neighborhoods and create a more sustainable future for our city,” says Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly. “The 10-Minute Walk Campaign’s Park Equity Accelerator will make sure every Chattanooga resident has close-to-home access to the extensive benefits parks provide.”

In partnership with the TPL, the city will develop and field-test ideas to tackle inequitable park access, from gaps in safe routes and green space connections to finding ways to better engage residents in park planning.

The results will help the city implement effective policies and strategies to advance local park access and quality in Chattanooga, says Scott Martin, administrator of Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors.

“This collaboration will help ensure we provide every Chattanoogan with access to quality green spaces, regardless of their ZIP code.”

Bianca Shulaker, senior director of the TPL’s 10-Minute Walk program, says parks are vital for healthy communities. However, years of policies and practices have resulted in underinvestment in neighborhoods, exacerbating the park equity gap and denying millions the health, climate and social benefits of close-to-home access to the outdoors.

“Given the urgency and scale of this nature gap, we’re excited to be launching these partnerships with communities to advance policy and other systems changes that will accelerate equitable access to quality park spaces.”

“All residents in Chattanooga should be able to enjoy the benefits of parks – from improved mental and physical health to greater connectedness and social cohesion – regardless of where they live,” says Noel Durant, Tennessee state director of the TPL.

Source: City of Chattanooga