The Importance of Parks

We hope this message finds you in the best of health as this challenging summer moves towards the Fall. We recognize that with with everyone’s resourcefulness and care we will overcome this adversity together.

We have heard from so many of you that staying closer to our homes has at times been challenging but it is times like these that we hear so many of you voicing a growing appreciation for critical role that our parks, open space and safe streets play in our lives.

Parks and open spaces provide so many important benefits:

  • Improved Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Lower Rates of Depression & Stress Reduction
  • Improved Focus & Problem-Solving Skills in Children
  • Improved Sleep
  • Increased Strength
  • Reduced Risk for Various Chronic Illnesses
  • Reduced Obesity

We all know too well that Santa Monica simply lacks ANY large parks. Our largest park, Palisades Park is just a narrow strip of green with walking paths that are at times too small to safely accommodate those that seek to use it. Our remaining parks are also deficiently small for a city of our size and inhibit physical distancing. In fact, Santa Monica has only 1.4 acres per 1000 residents which places us at the very rock bottom of the list of comparable cities.

All of this points to the need for the creation of the Great Park when the airport finally closes in 2029 that can safely handle the open space and health needs of our city. It is not too early to start planning for how a Great Park can contribute to the critical revitalization of our city once this pandemic is over.

In the meantime, our remaining parks are open and still need to be used with the greatest of care.

The “6 Acre Interim Open Space” which is adjacent to Airport Park remains open has become a major asset for families to bring their children with supervision, to safely walk, run, exercise, bike, skateboard, scoot and skate where there is enough space to physically distance. It has turned out to be one of the greatest family resources during this pandemic. It is open sunrise to sunset.

Go and check it out! Here are some critical rules to follow:

  • Stay Home if you are feeling sick
  • Wear a mask
  • Stay 6 feet apart
  • Visit at non-peak hours

We know that our city is undergoing significant budgetary challenges at this time that especially effects our parks but we are also encouraged by the comments of our new Interim City Manager Lane Dilg where she said, “Essential services that define life here will remain – high-quality drinking water, stunning parks and public spaces, and responsive police and fire departments.”

We also want to thank Karen Ginsberg who recently retired as the City of Santa Monica’s Director of Community and Cultural Services for her great work in creating and preserving our city parks and leading the Parks and Recreation Master Plan that is currently still in progress.

Be safe!

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