Little Rock, AR— From a competitive pool of nationwide applicants, the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) Foundation has received a grant to join Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities, a technical assistance program focused on improving safe and equitable local park access. As part of the program, Little Rock will be among eight diverse communities across the country to receive training and coaching from the Safe Routes Partnership to develop an action plan for improving active travel to local parks and green spaces and implement early actions from the plan. The initiative is funded by The JPB Foundation.
“Safe Routes to Parks has helped us forge new partnerships that enable CALS to extend our reach and serve the community in exciting and unprecedented ways,” said Nate Coulter, Executive Director of Central Arkansas Library System.
Safe Routes to Parks initiatives work to improve safety and security for people walking, bicycling, and rolling to parks and green spaces. This need is especially pronounced in neighborhoods and communities lacking infrastructure to support safe walking and bicycling; where violence and crime are prevalent; and where high rates of weight-related chronic disease are prevalent. With War Memorial’s proximity to Children’s Library and the Little Rock Zoo it was a natural fit for this project. After partnering with Rock Region Metro and Little Rock Parks & Rec last summer for the Be Mighty campaign, the safe routes project is a way to enhance existing partnerships while improving the community. The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program aims to remove barriers that make it hard for people to enjoy the physical, social, and mental health benefits that parks offer and proactively work toward ensuring safe, secure access to parks and open spaces. Over the long term, with increased safety and accessibility, Safe Routes to Parks seeks to increase park usage and improve health for people of all ages, races, abilities, and income levels.
“We are very excited to be a part of the Safe Routes to Parks Initiative and look forward to improving access to one of our community's greatest treasures in War Memorial Park,” said John Eckart, Little Rock Parks and Recreation Director.
War Memroial Stadium is participating in Safe Routes to Parks as a stakeholder. Central Arkansas's largest outdoor venue has a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding War Memorial Park. Stadium staff looks forward to working with CALS, Little Rock Parks and Recreation, and other stakeholders to improve access to all the great resources located in and around the park.
For more information, please visit saferoutespartnership.org.
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