It’s a universal truth that people delight in spending time in our community parks. Frederick Law Olmsted, America’s foremost urban park design and landscape architect, understood that these spaces brought communities together in all aspects of their lives and across all social and economic lines. They are more than just a perk of a great neighborhood, whether they are Central or Golden Gate Park or Paul Moore and Doerr Park in my District, they function as an integral fabric woven into the foundation of every community and city in America.
Many of my favorite childhood memories happened in our local parks. These spaces afforded kids like me a place to play little league baseball, hang out with friends, and engage in physical activities like riding my bike or rollerblading. I would head to local parks to attend festivals, BBQs, and celebrate birthdays with my family. These open spaces in my neighborhood profoundly impacted who I am today.
Our parks provide significant benefits to our community. They play a crucial role in the physical and mental health of our community, they help absorb water during extreme weather patterns, and provide a reduction in smog and cool our air during hot summer days. Green, open spaces provide a local area for neighborhood residents to interact with each other, host events, and develop a sense of community. When kids and youth connect and play sports in safe places, this keeps them off the streets, out of trouble, and thereby reduces neighborhood crime rates.
If you drive by our local parks in the evenings and on weekends they are often underutilized. My wish is to bring these spaces to life with events and social gatherings and I will engage City staff in this dialogue. Let’s activate our kids and families back to these spaces and let’s build a vibrant, dynamic community.
One solution is to support and engage San Jose’s involvement in National Unplugged Day, a time devoted to keeping our kids out of the house for a day without their technology devices and host fun activities in our neighborhoods. I want to ensure that our parks are full of different activities and maintained playground facilities to encourage more physical activities.
When San Jose preserves and sustains our local parks, this is the highest commitment and promise to our community. We cherish these spaces and the endless benefits to our families. As your Councilmember for San Jose’s District 9, I am passionately devoted to creating collaborative efforts through the community and the City to maintain clean, safe parks for everyone to enjoy.