The Trust for Public Lands Announces Partnership With the VF Foundation to Improve Access to Parks

Communities Across the Country are Rallying to Improve Access to the Outdoors 100 Million People Lack Close-to-Home Park Access
Oct 23, 2020 11:30 AM ET
Summary: 

Communities Across the Country are Rallying to Improve Access to the Outdoors
100 Million People Lack Close-to-Home Park Access

Press Release

During this public health crisis, data from The Trust for Public Land shows that over 100 million people in the U.S., including 28 million children, do not have access to a park within a 10-minute walk from home. For many of those that do have access, the quality of those parks is insufficient for community needs. As newly released data shows, parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are half the size of parks that serve majority white populations and nearly five times as crowded. Parks are vital for cooling neighborhoods, which is particularly important as temperatures continue to rise across the country. That’s why The Trust for Public Land is proud to partner with The VF Foundation to increase access to the outdoors in four underserved city neighborhoods across the country.

“Over the last several months, we have seen just how valuable parks are to a healthy, livable, and equitable community,” said Diane Regas, President and CEO of The Trust for Public Land, “We know, though, that not all parks are created equal and more must be done to create high-quality parks where they’re needed most. The work these communities are doing across the country is demonstrative of what happens when people are united for a common cause to improve their neighborhoods. We’re grateful for the partnerships that make change happen, including from The VF Foundation.”

The VF Foundation, the private grantmaking organization funded by VF Corporation, is providing $500,000 to The Trust for Public Land to support four park projects that will unite and empower residents to enjoy the transformative benefits of outdoor green space that has been out of reach for many. 

“We’re committed to contributing to a world that prioritizes equitable access to the outdoors, particularly in urban communities where access to green space is incredibly limited,” said Gloria Schoch, Director of The VF Foundation.  “Our investment in The Trust for Public Land’s work represents our core values while allowing us to scale our impact on a national level.” 

The four projects include: 

  • Alice Branch Creek Health and Wellness Greenbelt (Dallas, TX): Southern Dallas is experiencing a phase of rapid growth and transformation. The Trust for Public Land is creating a healthy and connected region through The Five Mile Creek vision will create a healthy and connected region through new parks and trails by cleaning and greening the Five Mile Creek watershed, improving safety, outdoor education opportunities, public health, and social cohesion for one of Dallas’s highest-need neighborhoods. Thanks to the support of The VF Foundation, the 1.8 Alice Branch Creek Health and Wellness Greenbelt will be a vital part of this vision and will serve over 6,900 within a 10-minute walk. Construction is expected to be complete on this project by Summer 2021. The design includes a free climbing wall, courtesy of The North Face, a VF Corporation-owned brand.

In Dallas, areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 36 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range. This project will serve over 6,900 people within a 10-minute walk, and the majority of those residents identify as Black. 

  • Supporting neighborhood-scale action in Westwood (Denver, CO): The Westwood neighborhood has the highest population of children in the city and lags behind the rest of Denver in access to quality parks and green space. The Trust for Public Land is taking a neighborhood scale approach in Westwood to address this inequity focusing on priorities in climate, equity, and health following an eight-year partnership with the community and years of planning. For the last three years, The Trust for Public Land has worked to advance the Westwood Via Verde, a three-mile green infrastructure trail network of parks, schools, bikeways, improved sidewalks, and enhanced alleys. Now, thanks to support from The VF Foundation, The Trust for Public Land is planning more changes like these throughout the neighborhood. Current projects include the construction of a new pocket park including a youth-designed skate feature, neighborhood art installations, a key trail segment of the Westwood Via Verde – The Tennessee Greenway- that will connect Westwood to neighborhoods to the east, and a Wayfinding Plan that celebrates the essence and spirit of neighborhood. The first Westwood Via Verde mural event took place on August 29th and the next will occur on September 26th of this year.

In Denver, areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 52 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range. This project will serve over 24,000 people within a 10-minute walk, and the majority of those residents identify as Latino.

  • Artwork in Cook Park (Atlanta, GA): The Trust for Public Land is working with the City of Atlanta and the community to transform 16 acres into a vibrant new city park, engineered to alleviate the risk of future catastrophic flooding in a neighborhood that is prone to flooding while providing multiple benefits to the neighborhood. Over the past four years, The Trust for Public Land worked with residents to plan a park that meets the unique character of this special place. It will feature a playground, splashpad, climbing boulders donated by The North Face, outdoor fitness equipment, two multi-use sports courts, public performance space, and a variety of spaces for neighbors and visitors to enjoy. Thanks to The VF Foundation, beautiful artwork that is reflective of the community will be a part of this new park. Cook Park is slated to open in October.

In Atlanta, areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 47 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range. This project will serve over 3,679 people within a 10-minute walk, and the majority of those residents identify as Black.

  • Urban Orchard in South Gate (Los Angeles, CA): This 30-acre project will provide a quality park to people in the highly diverse City of South Gate in Los Angeles County who currently do not have access to a park. Once completed, the new park will provide local residents access to a new green space and trails along the LA River, with connections to both the Rio Hondo and LA River bike paths. The park will contain nature play areas, walking paths, orchard trees, and stormwater management through extensive green infrastructure.

In Los Angeles, areas within a 10-minute walk of a park can be as much as 55 degrees cooler than areas beyond that range. This project will serve over 2,500 people within a 10-minute walk, and the majority of those residents identify as Latino.

For more information about the Trust for Public and to learn more about the other great projects the team is focused on, log onto www.tpl.org