For Oregon parents, local parks serve as convenient opportunities to get some fresh air and exercise. In a city or village park, families can gather, play, and unwind in a natural setting without having to travel a long distance. 

However, some parks are less enticing to families and kids than others. Certain enhancements can significantly boost their appeal. Identifying top improvements that attract more people to a park—and working with local authorities to implement them—enriches community life and fosters a deeper connection with the environment.

Boosting Basic Maintenance: Mowing, Emptying Trash Receptacles, & Cleaning Bathrooms

One of the simplest yet most impactful ways to enhance a park’s attractiveness is by keeping it clean. Regular maintenance, such as mowing and cleaning the bathrooms, makes parks more inviting for everyone. Encouraging community involvement in clean-up efforts can also foster a sense of ownership and pride among local residents.

Adding Picnic Tables

Introducing more picnic tables provides families with the perfect spot to enjoy outdoor meals and celebrations. This simple addition encourages people to spend more time in the park, turning quick visits into full-day outings. Consider proposing tables with built-in games, such as chess or tic-tac-toe, to add an interactive element to these gathering spots.

Refreshing Playgrounds

Investing in playground renovations can dramatically increase a park’s family appeal. Updating equipment to include more engaging and challenging structures caters to a wider age range while providing shade ensures that the fun can continue even on sunny days. Adding a fresh layer of kid-safe mulch makes playgrounds safer and more appealing.

Another crucial playground enhancement is improved accessibility: making playgrounds accessible to kids with physical and intellectual disabilities ensures all children can play and interact in a safe, inclusive environment.

Adding Drinking Fountains and Other Water Features

Installing drinking fountains helps keep park-goers hydrated and comfortable during their visits. Additionally, adding interactive water features, such as splash pads, can transform a park into a summer hotspot for families seeking relief from the heat.

Improving Bathrooms

Upgrading park bathrooms to be clean, safe, and accessible is essential for accommodating families who spend extended periods at the park. Well-maintained facilities, with baby changing tables and a few kid-sized stalls, ensure that visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their time without inconvenience.

Upgrading Lighting

Enhanced lighting not only makes parks safer during the evening hours but also extends the time families can enjoy outdoor activities. Efficient, well-placed lights along pathways and near facilities can significantly improve the park’s ambiance and usability. Adding LED floodlights to ball fields means that close games never have to stop on account of darkness. And bright outdoor LED lights on the outside of park buildings and parking lots with LED lighting make the park feel safer for visitors and park staff. 

In proposing these top improvements that attract more visitors to parks to your local park district authorities, emphasize the positive impact on community health, happiness, and cohesion. Be prepared to answer questions about how to fund improvements: perhaps a local park organization can help. 

By advocating for these park enhancements, parents in the PNW can help ensure that their local parks meet the needs and desires of all who seek solace and joy outdoors.

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