Get off the couch and visit a park this weekend

Published 7:54 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Public parks and green spaces add immeasurable value to communities and their residents, and Kentucky is lucky to be home to some superb parks.

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Saturday marks a day to celebrate those parks and to encourage those around you to enjoy the beauty of Kentucky’s outdoors.

National Hop-A-Park Day is celebrated the first Saturday in July.

With the warmer weather in the Bluegrass, now is the perfect time to explore parks in central Kentucky.

Think of the many parks in the area and how you could enjoy them this weekend.

Danville is home to the lovely Millennium Park, which boasts all kinds of ways to enjoy the great outdoors. There are a variety of sports fields, a dog park, a skate park, walking trails, playgrounds, a lake and plenty of benches to rest and take in the beauty of the community. We also have several other parks worth visiting, such as Jackson Park, with its walking trail that loops over rolling hills and 18-hole-plus disc golf course.

But there are also many great parks in surrounding communities. If you want to make a day of Hop-A-Park Day, spend a couple of hours here at home and then consider taking a short drive to one of the other fantastic parks in central Kentucky.

Besides enjoying the beautiful weather and the parks themselves, Hop-A-Park Day offers an opportunity to step away from the technology that consumes many of our lives these days.

Rather than spend the day in front of the TV or thumbing through your phone, spend some quality time with nature and with those you love.

Pack a picnic lunch and make it a whole day. Take a walk, play some games, push your children on the swings, read a book in the shade or get up close and personal with nature on a hike or trail walk.

According to the National Recreation and Park Association, “parks shape perceptions of a community and its overall quality of life that help build a sense of place.”

Parks add so much to our communities. They contribute to the health and well-being of the community while adding to the quality of life of its residents.

Parks offer an affordable and accessible way for people to access recreation and exercise opportunities that help combat serious and chronic health issues and sedentary lifestyles.

Parks also play an important role in conservation, many creating safe habitats for wildlife, preserving public land and trees and promoting responsible stewardship.

Parks connect people with nature and improve appreciation for it.

Parks and recreation facilities also have a positive economic impact. According to NRPA’s Economic Development Report, “Investments in improving a community’s quality of life can create a virtuous cycle: high quality-of-life locations attract workers, which attract employers, which in turn attract even more investment and jobs. Park and recreation departments are significant employers in cities and towns. Their operations and capital spending generate positive impacts that ripple through local economies.”

Some other economic impacts include tourism-related spending from visitors to the parks and increased property values for nearby homes.

You might be surprised to discover all the variety of parks in the area and how you can enjoy them. Take this weekend as an opportunity to celebrate those parks and to explore.