by Nathan Boddy
There can be little doubt that residents of Hamilton are lucky to have a wide selection of top notch municipal parks. It is also true that those parks have endured an ever greater usage since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the last year and a half, the open space, river access, playgrounds and sporting facilities owned by Hamilton have seen a marked increase in use, due to many other recreational options being limited. From the new access lot and trails within Skalkaho Bend Park on the south, all the way to Hieronymus Park in the north, residents have increasingly been stretching their legs in their collective backyard. This increase of use and pressure upon the parks has not been without impact, and the Healthy Hamilton Subcommittee of the Hamilton City Council has taken notice.
Amongst its many efforts, the Healthy Hamilton Subcommittee aims to foster those activities which translate to healthy activities and economy for Hamilton and its residents. Committee Chair, Robin Pruitt, expressed what many people who make daily usage of their favorite parks could plainly see, “The parks (have been) vital to all of our mental health and they are going to be vital in building the community back.”
To this end, the Healthy Hamilton Subcommittee recently gained the go-ahead from the Hamilton City Council to sponsor a community clean-up day for the city’s parks, called ‘Perking up the Parks.’ According to Pruitt, sponsoring a project like Perking up the Parks made sense in light of so much increased usage in the past year. “We love our parks and are continuing to use them,” said Pruitt, while also pointing out that, “our town is growing, our town is having more tourism, and it is incumbent upon us as citizens to take care of our parks.”
Perking up the Parks is set to take place on Monday, July 26th, and will be a coordinated effort for citizen volunteers and city staff to work together for the improvement and repair of a variety of needed projects within several of Hamilton’s municipal parks. Projects will include staining benches and signs at Steve Powell Park, moving mulch within the playground at Claudia Driscoll Park, painting shaders and benches at the Dog Park, and even generalized weeding and clean up. But the aim of the Healthy Hamilton Subcommittee is not just the improvement of the parks themselves, but also as a community building project, and to bring people together to celebrate shared/valued public spaces, especially as a growing population makes the parks even more important for citizens.
People interested in volunteering for ‘perking up the parks’ will be asked to complete a liability form, but that requirement needn’t preclude people from lending a hand when they see a need.
“Even if people could pick up a piece of litter on that day,” says Pruitt, the event could be a great success. “I think the larger community effort is that all of us pitch in.”
For more information, the City Clerk’s office can be reached at 363-2101.