Careers & Education

What a park improvement committee does

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couple on park bench
Providing a shaded rest on sunny days
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Here's what a park improvement committee does to create gorgeous green space

People who love where they live naturally want to help make it an even better place. One of the best ways to do this is to join a neighborhood committee dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents. The options vary depending on where you live, but most towns or city neighborhoods are home to a lively park improvement group.

What a park improvement committee does is advise on improvements to public spaces, raise funds to facilitate these improvements and purchase park equipment, and boost public awareness on new resources and ongoing programs. Essentially, they have a hand in initiatives designed to solve problems, expand outreach and make the public spaces measurably better.


Most committee websites focus entirely on what the group does, but you may be wondering who are the people behind the scenes. For the most part, they're local residents and business people who have a vested interest in making the parks places more people want to be. These are also people willing to volunteer their time and energy to this purpose.

For parents this means making them safe and clean in addition to organizing activities for kids like boating lessons, egg hunts and family fun days. Other adults with an interest in athletics can join a committee to propose maintaining and even extending running and bike trails, improving signage and hosting races. Business owners know that the more people visit nearby parks, the more business they stand to make whether they're selling coffee, supplies or services.

Members often have years of experience and are happy to offer their expertise. Those who hold a title like president or treasurer are typically elected by the group for a set term and then the responsibilities are handed to someone else.

Getting results

It's not always obvious what a park improvement committee does because these groups rarely call attention to themselves. One day a new bench will appear under a tree or you'll notice a much needed bike rack near the entrance. You may assume it was always there and you simply hadn't noticed it before. More often than not, these additions are thanks to the efforts of such groups.

From basic grills and picnic tables, to planters, fencing, trash cans and athletic equipment, the resources at your disposal are there because a group of people worked together to provide them.

Why join

Parks are a significant part of a community's character. They offer welcoming open space for everyone to enjoy year-round. In summer, programming is out in full force with concerts, theater, food festivals and athletics like kayaking. Winter may be downtime for most areas, but you can bet the committee uses this time to strengthen connections and catch up on on-going issues.

People who join these groups are inspired to help achieve a shared vision that's tangible as in better benches and nicer picnic areas and essential as in maintaining a safe, active environment. This involves attending events and seeking community feedback and ideas.

Storms and natural disasters may set back some plans, but in general these groups make sure deadlines are met and those with official responsibilities are held accountable. Above all else, what a park improvement committee does is ensure public spaces serve the needs and interests of the community by making the most of resources available.

If you don't have the time to commit to joining, your voice can still be heard by contacting a member with your input. Many also organize volunteers so you can contribute by spending an afternoon of your time picking up trash or helping set up for a performance. This is a great way to meet neighbors and become more engaged.

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