Positively!Pottstown has teamed up with the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation to run a series of articles about the parks and recreational opportunities in the Foundation’s service area, which includes the Borough of Pottstown and municipalities within a ten-mile radius. Bloggers Sue Repko and Rosemary Keane are visiting all the parks in a recent study commissioned by the Foundation and conducted by the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture of The Pennsylvania State University. They will be posting their experiences and photos here at Positively!Pottstown, beginning tomorrow and continuing through the first week of November. Each week the blog will feature the parks in one municipality or geographic area.
The posts will also appear in the print edition of The Mercury, as space allows, and will otherwise employ new social media, such as the Foundation’s Mission: Healthy Living website, the online edition of The Mercury, Facebook and Twitter, to get the word out about the types and locations of recreational facilities in the Pottstown area.
This series is a direct response to some of the findings from Penn State’s two-phase study. Phase I identified critical issues facing the Pottstown area in terms of growth, sprawl, active living and access to parks, while Phase II linked the conclusions of Phase I to planning objectives, recommendations, design guidelines and implementation strategies.
One of the key planning objectives to come out of the Phase II Report was to build awareness of nearby parks. The first question a potential park visitor is going to ask is, “Are there any parks nearby?” Surprisingly, one of Penn State’s findings was that more than a third of residents in higher-density areas, such as Pottstown, are not aware that they have a park within a 10-minute walking distance of their homes. Residents’ next questions typically revolve around how convenient it is to get to a park and whether the park has amenities of interest.
While the Penn State study mentions public and private school playgrounds, the series will not cover those facilities under the assumption that families – the primary users – will already know about them. But the bloggers will use the study as a guide to other community facilities and then will share their own experiences, tips and photos to make it easier for readers to decide what park might suit them on any given day and how to get there.
“We wanted to try this approach, to make this fun and engaging for readers, so that they will be inspired to get outside and explore the recreational opportunities in their own backyards and in neighboring towns,” said Dave Kraybill, Executive Director of the Foundation.
This project complements the Foundation’s efforts to create an online community, Mission: Healthy Living, where residents can learn and share information among themselves about health and wellness topics that interest them. All of the articles will be permanently available at Positively!Pottstown under the “Parks & Rec” tab at the top of every page, as well as in the “Parks & Rec Series” subject category.
Readers are encouraged to share their tips, insights and experiences (both good and bad) in the comment section at the end of each article. It is through this kind of real-life feedback that municipal officials, parks and recreation departments, non-profit sports and recreation organizations, and the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation can better understand how to encourage and strengthen the opportunities for physical activity and healthy living in their communities.
Schedule of Parks & Recreation articles
Pottstown – Week of Sept. 27
West Pottsgrove, Upper Pottsgrove, Lower Pottsgrove – Week of Oct. 4
North, South & East Coventry – Week of Oct. 11
Boyertown/Douglass/New Hanover – Week of Oct. 18
Amity & Douglass (Berks County) – Week of Oct. 25
East Vincent & Spring City – Week of Nov. 1