Lexington joins Trust for Public Land plan to accelerate park equity, address needs

Lexington is joining the 10-Minute Walk® Park Equity Accelerator, an initiative of the Trust for Public Land, as an inaugural member, Mayor Linda Gorton said.

The initiative supports cities across the country with funding and expertise to address long-standing barriers to outdoor equity. Established with support from The JPB Foundation in 2017, the 10-Minute Walk program currently works with over 300 mayors and city leaders across 48 states to close the park equity gap and address cities’ needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development, and community building through parks.

“Lexington is taking major strides to improve parks all over town through an investment of unprecedented local resources,” Gorton said. “We want all of our residents to have access to quality parks and look forward to learning more through The Trust for Public Land.”

Parks and green spaces support good health and neighborhood revitalization. “Parks must be equally available to residents,” Gorton said.

Over 100 million people in the U.S., including 28 million children, do not have access to a quality park within a 10-minute walk from home. Residents in low-income neighborhoods have access to 42 percent less park space than residents in high-income neighborhoods.

“Parks are vital for healthy communities, and investment in parks is game-changing for resilient and thriving cities,” said Bianca Shulaker, Senior Director of the Trust’s 10-Minute Walk program. “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.”

The 10-Minute Walk® Park Equity Accelerator will address the root causes of park inequities shared by many of the program’s champion cities. The Accelerator will direct resources and provide technical assistance to solving park equity through policy change and innovation. Accelerator cities will field-test policy ideas over a period of 12-15 months. The Trust will use findings to support scaling the model to additional cities.

“We anticipate a robust conversation and deep dive into the equitable access of our spaces,” said Monica Conrad, Lexington’s Director of Parks & Recreation.

According to TPL’s data, 66% of Lexington residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park. The city’s 105 parks use 2% of the city’s land, compared to the national median of 15% (SOURCE: https://www.tpl.org/city/lexington-kentucky).

Lexington Division of Parks & Recreation, Lexington Division of Planning, CivicLex, and Seedleaf are collaborating on several projects through the Accelerator, including reshaping how decisions are made around greenspace, park development, and public land-use planning, and identifying strategies to ensure community views and priorities are included in key aspects of city park systems.

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About Lexington Parks & Recreation

Parks & Recreation, a division of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, oversees the programming, maintenance, and development of over 100 city parks and natural areas, six pools, five golf courses, community centers, recreational programs, and three arts venues. To find out more, follow @LexKYParks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or sign up for the email newsletter.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.

About the 10-Minute Walk Program

The 10-Minute Walk program, a Trust for Public Land award-winning national program, is engaging city leaders to close the park equity divide so that every resident has access to a quality park or green space within a 10-minute walk of home. The Program calls on U.S. mayors to address cities' most pressing needs around health, resilience, environmental protection, economic development, and community building through parks, and provides the resources needed to create and support parks that drive equitable, healthy, thriving communities. Through investigating and implementing high-impact policies and best practices for accelerating parks development, we aim to serve as the go-to group for closing the park equity divide. Read more here.

About The JPB Foundation

The JPB Foundation works to advance opportunity and justice in the US by reducing poverty, sustaining and enriching the environment, and furthering breakthrough medical research. The JPB Foundation works alongside local leaders, national movements, and world-changing research organizations to make people’s lives better.

About Lexington Division of Planning

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government’s Division of Planning's mission is to provide a vision and strategy that will allow Lexington to grow and prosper while preserving, protecting, and enhancing existing neighborhoods, downtown and the rural Bluegrass cultural landscape.

About CivicLex

CivicLex is a nonprofit civic education & media organization that brings daylight to the issues, policies, and procedures impacting Fayette County. We do our work by making civic information more accessible and bringing together residents and city representatives.

About Seedleaf

Seedleaf is a community gardening organization that provides horticultural training and supports the practice of gardening and small-scale farming in urban spaces. Seedleaf values the ongoing connection of people to land, the incubation of healthy community interdependence and the cultivation of growers. We believe that this leads to the development of a robust local food economy and a just and equitable system of stewardship over urban land.

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