Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors reveals new park plan details

Former NYC Parks and Rec Commissioner Mitchell Silver excited for Chattanoogans

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — Former New York City Parks and Rec Commissioner Mitchell Silver is currently in Chattanooga looking into the city’s upcoming Parks and Outdoors Plan.

That plan will be presented to City Council in February.

Parks and Outdoors Administrator Scott Martin says it’s been 25 years since Chattanooga has had a planned parks and rec system.

Fortunately for the community, he says that’s all about to change.

“Every neighborhood should have a great park, just like Coolidge Park behind me now, that they can walk to and enjoy every day,” Martin said. “I think that’s really the big idea. Atlanta’s going to be a big city, Nashville’s going to be Music City USA. What if we’re the best place to raise a family at the end of the day? What if we’re the best place to live? We think that’s our best play.”

Silver’s career has focused on parks, as well as the health benefits that come from them.

Due to the pandemic, he says Americans now look at their local parks in a more necessary light.

“Parks became our sanctuaries of sanity,” Silver said. “It was the one place people could go to feel alive, not just for physical health but for mental health. The fact that people are recognizing parks and now trailways and greenways added to it, people now recognize where they can go just to be mentally healthy.”

Silver is excited for Chattanoogans in the wake of what’s to come.

He says the plan aims to have all residents capable of walking to a park or some type of open space within 10 minutes.

It will also serve to improve park space in underserved communities.

“I’d be excited because now I could discover the city through parks, open spaces and greenways,” Silver said. “They’re great places to be in, you’re in a green oasis. Now I have so many choices to experience throughout this great city. I’m confident the plan will pass, but I’d be more confident the city’s going to execute and get it done.”

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