One of the greatest ways a city can bring a community together is through a public park. Public parks benefit our cities in many ways, from public health and recreational opportunities, to strengthening the bonds between friends and families.
Most of us can remember when a park we frequented was torn down and converted into a parking lot or new development. For me, it was the park right behind my home. But lately, there has been a revival of public parks as cities begin to understand the power of green spaces and parks in their communities. Just look at how fast parklets are popping up around the country!
In South Lake Tahoe, the city is fortunate to have the space to do it big. The city built Lakeview Commons in 2013 to not only revive the local economy, but also to bring the community closer together.
Lakeview Commons is a fifty-six acre site that is located on El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe. It offers stunning views of the lake and is within walking distance of many local restaurants, shops, and residential areas. When the city planned the park, it had both environmental and socioeconomic goals in mind. Some of their main objectives included improving water quality, as the location is located next to Highway 50 (a busy highway that can cause run-off issues); improving the scenic quality of the area; and spurring future investment. On each account, they succeeded.
In the summer months, locals and tourists alike flock to the Commons to take a dip, rent boats and paddle boards, barbecue with a view, or take in the music at the weekly summer concert series. The summer concert series is one of my favorite things to partake in. People of all ages join together to listen to music, dance and share in good conversation. The park has not only revamped the community, but it has also brought in tourists from all over for events such as Fourth of July fireworks.
How does your city bring the local community together in the summer months?
Credits: Data linked to sources. Photos by Alex Riemondy.