Alexander Lumber | Champaign, IL

What makes a community special?

Dave Wierzba | with 0 Comments


What makes a community special?

Parks, Recreation Planning and Multi-Use Trails were popular topics of conversation at the League of Minnesota Cities 2014 Annual Conference held recently in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  During the exhibition portion of the conference, I had the opportunity to listen to what’s really on the minds of Minnesota’s city administrators and municipal officials.

Family bike rides along a wooded path. Spotting migrating birds while hiking on a fragrant springtime day. Baseball at the park. Family reunion picnics. Watching the kids explore the playground. Catching a few walleyes…or any fish that will bite. During the conference, I discovered that community leaders truly understand the importance of providing opportunities to play.

Incorporating parks, natural resources, and connecting trails within communities promotes increased exercise, social gatherings, healthier lifestyles, and economic growth.  

Communities are constantly challenged with differentiating themselves not only from their neighboring communities, but from communities across the country.  Grabbing the attention of relocating businesses, and the people who work for them, along with keeping existing community members satisfied with their current local amenities are at the forefront of many community leaders’ minds.
 
City administrators and municipal officials across the Midwest look for ways to enhance existing parks.  Some are upgrading aging recreational facilities with handicap accessibility.  Handicap accessibility is not only important for children, but for their parents and grandparents who want to be able to enjoy local park systems with their families.
 
Multi-use trails continue to be included in many municipal economic development efforts.  Trails can encourage recreational use of lakes and parks, connect downtown businesses to bike enthusiasts, and provide safe pedestrian and bicycle transportation routes throughout a region.
 
Economic growth and competition for the almighty tourism dollar have communities springing into action.  Providing lake accessibility, reconstructing areas for recreation, and improving facilities are some of the ways I see communities making strides to accomplish just that.  So, I ask you, what makes your community special?

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