Become a Park Advocate: Perspective from Esther Stokes

Park Pride Board Member – Esther Stokes

Esther Stokes

  • Advocacy Committee Chair
  • Years involved with Park Pride: 10
  • Neighborhood Parks: Piedmont Park and Brookwood Hills Park

As chair of Park Pride’s Advocacy Committee, I believe that all Atlantans in all neighborhoods should have access to quality parks. Advocating for our parks is important work because (1) Atlanta doesn’t have enough park acreage, and (2) we don’t budget enough money to properly maintain the parks we do have.

How can we do better?

We need to set the bar higher. We need to make incremental improvements, steadily, over time. We need to allocate more money to our parks for maintenance workers and gardeners, for park acquisition, and for capital improvements in parks such as paths, pavilions, splash pads, and shade structures.

These investments in our parks will have a substantial payback not only in terms of economic development and attracting new residents to our city, but also in the overall health and vitality of our city and its citizens.

During the recession, we saw serious cuts in the City of Atlanta Parks Department’s budget and personnel. A reverse to this trend, the 2016 budget cycle has increased investment with a new $1,300,000 for park operations and maintenance under the leadership of Commissioner Amy Phuong. We need to continue this work, investing more each year, over a long period of time.

This will take the commitment of our political leaders, park advocates, and all citizens. I invite you to join us in our mission to improve our parks!

 

If you’re interested in park advocacy issues, sign up for Park Pride’s emails at www.bit.ly/parkpridenews.

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