For the past few years, I have been a member of the park board of our city. I had a minor in Parks and Recreation Management while in college, and my desire to serve our city in this way came from a passion I developed while in college. While in college I, along with two other Parks and Recreation students, developed a plan for a playground at a local daycare center. Parks and playgrounds are important to any community, and we have some wonderful parks here in Piqua!
Did you know that our city has 19 parks, 11 playgrounds, 25 landscape beds, 100 trash cans that need to be emptied, and over 300 acres of land for public use and recreation to keep mowed and trimmed? Our park employees, of which there are four full-time positions, are in charge of covering all I have previously mentioned, and they also are responsible for spreading over 2,000 yards of mulch each summer. On top of all this, they maintain our bike path, which is about 12 miles of asphalt within the city limits. This is quite a list of jobs and tasks for four folks to handle. There are some residents who help to maintain some of the landscape beds, and the city hires five part-time employees from May-August, even so there is a lot for our Parks Department to stay on top of and cover!
In our Parks Department, we have Certified Pool Operators, Certified Pesticide Applicators, and Certified Playground Inspectors. Our Parks Department is also responsible for helping with the set up and tear down of our community activities, such as this past weekend’s Bike Fest. I am thankful for our Parks Department and know for a fact that they are very hard workers and are stretched at times very thin.
Our parks are very important to our community, and we must do all we can to maintain them. The truth is though that the number of employees we have can only do the best they can with all they have to cover. At times, I believe that we, as citizens, may have to help pick up the slack. We could possibly take our trash home, if we see a can that is already overloaded. We could pick up trash that we see lying around on the ground of our parks. We could, as some citizens have done — one is even a park employee, adopt one of the 25 landscape beds and maintain it ourselves. Maybe we could even do this with a few other families and make it a group project. These are ways that we can all be part of the solution and help keep one of the great assets we have here in tip-top shape!
Within our 19 parks, there are a few that are considered to be neighborhood parks — parks such as High Street Park off of Sherman Street, Shawnee Park, Armory Park, Das Park, Kiwanis Park, and Robert M. Davis Memorial Park up in Deerfield. What would it be like if those of us who lived around these parks helped to maintain them? Maybe have a block party in the spring to get the park ready for the season and maybe doing it again in the summer and fall to help keep the park in good shape. Imagine it … you would be getting to know your neighbors even better all while picking up and keeping the park looking great! All for the children in the neighborhood children to enjoy!
The truth is that play is a very important to part of building a great community. It must be safe, comfortable and friendly, but great communities must also be full of time and places to have fun and play! Play is important and central to all of pour relationships with other people and our parks are the center where much of this play happens. Let’s all take our part in helping to maintain the play where we play … because a city that plays together will stay together!
The Rev. Kazy Blocher Hinds is pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Piqua. Reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.