Clarkston is one of just 12 cities nationwide to receive funding to ensure as many residents as possible live within a 10-minute walk of a public park.

Clarkston, which has a population of about 13,000 people, received $40,000 from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) to explore the feasibility of providing a system of walking trails along Peachtree Creek to expand and connect existing green space.

At present, about 71 percent of Clarkston residents live within a 10-minute walk of a public park. Mayor Ted Terry wants to increase that number.

Clarkston nets $40,000 to improve public park access

Ted Terry

“Clarkston is focused on creating a park system that can be a welcoming and compassionate environment for all residents and visitors wherein each open space can become a venue where individuals from all nations, religions and races can congregate,” Terry said April 27.

The NRPA allocated a total of $480,000 on April 26 to a dozen cities, each of which participates in the organization’s 10-Minute Walk Campaign, launched in 2017 in association with the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute.

The money is to support city planning efforts to increase access to high quality public parks.

The other cities to get grants are Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Orlando, Florida; El Cajon, California; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Lewisville, Texas; New Rochelle, New York; Camden, New Jersey; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Rochester, New York; and Tukwila, Washington.

Almost 200 mayors across America have joined the 10-Minute Walk Campaign.

“We believe everyone deserves a great park,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “That’s why we’re proud to help lead this effort, providing cities with the tools and resources necessary to make the 10-minute walk goal a reality.”

Studies show that high-quality parks provide a wide range of benefits to urban residents and cities, including physical and mental health benefits associated with physical activity and interaction with nature.

Economic benefits come from revitalized neighborhoods and businesses, community relations are strengthened when residents join forces to improve their surroundings, and the environment benefits from dedicated green space.

George Dusenbury, executive director of TPL Georgia, is keen to see park access improve in DeKalb County.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Clarkston community to develop and implement a park planning strategy that provides park access to each of their residents,” he said.