President’s Corner – July 2024 – Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation is this month’s topic – not the TV show, although that’s a funny one! I promise to not go all Leslie Knope on you! July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and I would like to talk about the great benefits that parks bring to a community. In my mind, parks are the heart of a community and the place where people come together to socialize, relax, recreate, birdwatching (wink, wink, Viera’s Big Year), get outside in the sun, and exercise. They are just so important to the very fabric of a community.

Parks are for everyone and appeal to all ages by providing both active and passive recreational activities. Whether you just want to stroll through the open areas, sit on a bench, walk your dog, or bring the kids to the playground, anyone can enjoy what our parks have to offer. Here in Central Viera, we have facilities for all types of recreation and play such as tennis courts, pickleball courts, basketball courts, soccer, volleyball, walking trails, climbing features, cornhole, dog play areas, and even an outdoor hockey rink!

Parks are not only valuable as recreational areas, they are also needed to provide green spaces that offer a natural relief from development. They also help with noise abatement, manage stormwater (flood risk mitigation), and reduce surface temperature by combatting the “heat island” effect. They are little oases in the middle of a busy and growing area.

Maybe one of the biggest benefits to parks is that they contribute to the health and wellness of community members. Parks give people a safe place to get out and move. With today’s sedentary lifestyle, parks are more important than ever to provide opportunities to get off the couch and away from the tv, computers, and video games. Getting out in the fresh air has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety in both kids and adults. Also, kids who spend time outside and in parks have better test scores, fewer behavioral problems, and improved self-discipline.

Parks contribute to creating community identity by providing connection spaces and the chance for families to socialize. In today’s social media and internet world, parks are places that kids can go to meet other kids and learn important social skills. Many of the events held in our parks also contribute to the sense of community identity such as our recent School’s Out party, our Community Campout each February, our interactive movie nights, or our annual Halloween scavenger hunt – Eye See You, Viera.

Parks that are close to your home also contribute to higher property values. Studies have confirmed that, in many areas, home values near a park, recreational area, or open space can be 8% to 20% higher than comparable properties depending on the proximity to the park with values being the highest closest to the park. In addition to location, the type of park contributed to increased home values with passive recreation within parks, such as trails, had the greatest benefit. As many of you already know, Viera has miles and miles of great trails woven throughout the community. And, a bit of trivia, trails are actually our most requested amenity from new homebuyers.

Speaking of trails, The Viera Company is currently working on a pedestrian trail system within Village 2 (Costco area) that will provide residents with great walking and nature watching opportunities. Stay tuned for more on that topic!

Finally, our parks are free!! We can all use some free activities these days. Take advantage of these free community parks right outside your door.

So, until next time, go to your local park and remember… “Parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.” – Marty Rubin

Eva M. Rey, President
Central Viera Community Association, Inc.