Saturday, May 28, 2011

Parks, Recreational Facilities and Open Space

Parks, recreational facilities and open space provide significant opportunities for physical activity and support mental health. Convenient, safe access to recreational facilities is directly correlated to an increase in the amount that people exercise. Green open spaces are important for mental health, particularly in denser urban environments, and help filter pollutants.
The goal of the 2006 City-County Parks and Open Space Plan is to provide a system of parks, preserved natural areas and recreation opportunities in Forsyth County, to improve the quality of life of residents and meet the needs of a diverse population (for a discussion on the preservation of Open Space and Farmland, see Chapter 7, Environmental Quality and Sustainability). A Community Needs Assessment, central to formulating Plan recommendations, took into consideration:
  • Existing and projected demand derived from community surveys
  • Existing and projected population distribution
  • Recommended standards for the provision of parks, recreation facilities and open space
  • The size, location and type of existing park, recreation facilities and open space
Recommendations were made in the plan to add park acreage in areas of existing or projected deficiencies, identify areas for natural resource preservation, upgrade and expand recreational facilities to meet identified needs, and complete feasibility studies for several potential park sites including existing and former landfill sites.
Since Plan adoption, additional potential sites for proposed new or expanded parks and recreational facilities have been identified through the Area Plan process. Master plans for some new and expanded park sites are currently being completed, while other master plans still need to be done. Also, there is some ongoing limited upgrading of existing parks and facilities.
Funding for the acquisition of land and the construction of new parks and facilities has, however, been limited. Feasibility studies for the potential of existing and former landfill sites for recreational use have not been completed.

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