I am lucky enough to live in a McMinnville neighborhood with a great recreational facility – the Westside Greenway. This greenway runs from Baker Creek Road in the north down to West 2nd Street on the south. The greenway includes a wide, paved trail for walking and biking, and also includes landscaping along the perimeters and open grass areas where kids can run around or play a pick-up game of football. A soft, wood chipped trail climbs up a steep portion of the trail near Wallace Road, which is an interesting change of pace along the trail. Benches are provided throughout the greenway, providing a place for people to sit and rest or talk with a friend. The greenway even includes a boardwalk that crosses a drainage way and wetland area near Meadows Drive.
The Westside Greenway is such a great amenity for all of the reasons above, but also for the additional benefits it provides. We use the trail to walk our dogs and go on runs for exercise. The trail is one of the areas where we most often see our neighbors and stop to talk with them (and let the dogs sniff and play with their furry friends). The portion of the greenway with the boardwalk over the wetland area provides a little connection to nature, where you often see deer and other wildlife walking through the wooded area. The benches and lookout area at the top of the hill near Wallace Road provide a view out towards the foothills west of town.
All of these benefits and opportunities that the Westside Greenway provide help to improve the quality of life in my neighborhood. There is so much research into the health and social benefits of open space and green space, and a good compilation of some of that research is provided by the University of Washington’s College of the Environment. They provide a website titled “Green Cities: Good Health” that compiles research on the active lifestyle, mental health, and social benefits that access to open and recreational spaces can provide.
Do you think it is important for every Great Neighborhood to have access to open and recreational spaces?
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