Lexington joins 10-Minute Walk Campaign to advance access to parks and green spaces throughout the city

Lexington has signed on to the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, joining cities across the country who are pledging to make sure 100% of their residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park or green space by 2050. The campaign underscores the city’s commitment to the campaign’s goal, which promotes a vision of expanding safe and equitable access to parks and green spaces.

“Our parks and green spaces are critical to the health and growth of our city,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “People love our parks. They’re gathering spaces where people can meet their neighbors, enjoy recreational activities, and take in all that nature has to offer. I was proud to add my name and our city to an ever-growing list of over 250 fellow mayors from across the country who are investing in equitable access to parks and other green spaces.”

A recent national survey conducted by PSB Research found how crucial parks are for maintaining both mental and physical health, especially as the nation continues to work through and recover from the pandemic. Two-thirds of participants reported that during the pandemic parks and green spaces have become increasingly important to maintain their health.

“We always knew how important our parks and green spaces are, but this pandemic emphasized the true value to our well-being,” said Monica Conrad, Director of Lexington Parks & Recreation. “Parks provide a safe space for physical activity, and green spaces improve our emotional and mental health, which is so very important right now.”

Currently, 40% of Lexingtonians live within a 10-minute walk of a park. The Lexington Parks & Recreation Master Plan that was completed in 2018 included a goal to increase that number to 65% by 2030 through development of existing parkland, establishment of new parks in growing areas (including developer contributions), and improved access to existing parks. Some parks are already close to homes, but need an access path that would allow people to easily walk there.

“We are so excited to work on this initiative with the community, especially those who have not historically had access to high quality public space,” said Michelle Kosieniak, Superintendent of Planning & Design for Lexington Parks & Recreation. “No doubt we have a long way to go to meet the goal of 100% by 2050. But a very old proverb reminds us ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ Joining this national initiative is Lexington’s first step.”

Parks & Recreation, a division of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, oversees the programing, 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.