Your neighbors are up to plenty of good, plotting and planning for a park near you. Even in the deep of winter, these do-gooders are dreaming of play equipment, meeting with park planners, and raising money to make it a reality. From community councils and master plan committees, Eagle Scouts and Rotary Clubs, this is the time of year when plans are made.
Top of mind are the busy Abbott Loop neighbors who are leading the charge to bring an inclusive playground and off-leash dog park to Whisper Faith Kovach Park this summer. They promoted the 2017 park bond and earned an Anchorage Park Foundation Challenge Grant funded by Rasmuson Foundation. Now, the more money they raise, the better the park will be. You can chip in here.
Over in the U-Med District, neighbors of Folker Park are counting down the days until a wheelchair-accessible pathway winds through the trees and people of all ages enjoy intergenerational fitness equipment in their park — all happening this summer. Residents at Providence Horizon House are especially excited as grandkids from across Anchorage will be clamoring to visit this revitalized space. This winter, neighbors are still fundraising to complete the park, which will include a reflexology path.
Campbell Elementary families are making plans for an outdoor learning space at Wolverine Park. When the snow melts, these STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) schoolkids will construct their outdoor classroom in the park. I bet the birdhouses they built to teach about the natural world will be hung before the snow is gone.
Mountain View neighbors are looking forward to their ideas for Davis Park to come true this summer, including a disc golf course installed by the Youth Employment in Parks program. (Psst … If this project sounds fun to your own teen, the YEP summer jobs are open online to apply for right now!)
Airport Heights neighbors are wrapping up their master plan for Tikishla Park. A committee of people is working to activate the Town Square Park space in a positive way. Government Hill neighbors are gathering resources for a trail. Taku Lake Park neighbors have been developing a master plan with the city for months, which looks like it will be ready for a vote this winter.
The beautiful community projects happening in your parks and on trails are made possible through the public-private partnership between the Municipality of Anchorage and Anchorage Park Foundation. And guess what? You and your neighbors are the "private" part of that partnership, AND you and your neighbors are also the taxpayers who fund the "public" part of the partnership! Both sides of this partnership require your support and energy to make our parks and trails what you want them to be.
So what can you do for your parks and trails this winter? You could support these projects now. Donate a silent-auction item, make a donation to their project, bid on their strawberry jam, offer to hand out the cocoa, offer to volunteer you and your front-end loader this summer, share your spouse's handy skill or your pickup truck, or simply distribute this neighbor energy and excitement in your networks. Maybe you feel like you can't contribute your time or your resources, but there is someone in your neighborhood you can call to say thank you.
Beth Nordlund is executive director of the Anchorage Park Foundation.
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