By George “Bud” Scholl, Mayor
(May 2, 2016) – Quite often I am asked why we concentrate so much effort on acquiring more park land and building more parks. Allow me to give you my perspective and a few facts to back it up. Our City is made up of a little over one square mile of land and we have close to 22 acres or 1 million square feet of parks, not including the beach front. If we include the 98 acres of public beachfront, we have over 5.2 million square feet of public recreational space throughout our City.
As we all know, we have a community made up of mostly multi-family residential buildings. In fact, we have roughly 100 multi-family buildings containing over 18,500 residential units in total, with approximately 450 single family homes. For those of us that live in a single family home, we have the benefit of some yard space. But that represents just about 2% of our residents. Therefore we have an obligation to serve the needs of the majority of our residents’ lifestyles that happen to live in multi-family buildings.
With the above in mind, we have followed a few guiding principles as we have moved our City forward. The first is that land has been getting increasingly more expensive and if we don’t acquire it now, we may never be able to afford it in the future. Additionally, as our City is built out, the choice of land for acquisition becomes much less. Finally, based upon our comprehensive plan, we want every resident to be within one quarter of a mile, or roughly 1,300 feet, of a park or public space. This means accessibility to our public spaces is available for most members of our population. We are very close to achieving that goal.
In addition to our guiding principles, my personal view is that our parks are so widely utilized and enjoyed that we cannot have enough of them. So enjoy our parks and note that they are just a short walk from your home!