SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTGS) — Healthy Savannah is partnering with Charles T. Brown’s Equitable Cities to take a deeper look at how parks can better serve those in their community.
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Six neighborhood parks in Savannah were chosen for the initiative: Blackshear Park, W.W. Law Park, Feiler Park, Bowles C. Ford Park, Cann Park and Kennedy Park at Carver Heights.
Armand Turner serves as Healthy Savannah’s physical activity program manager. He said their goal is to see what changes can and need to be made for parks in low-income neighborhoods.
“We know who resides in communities that are predominantly low-wealth African American communities, and [we want to] look at those parts from an equitable lens,” Turner said.
Members of Equitable Cities visited Savannah last month to begin an analysis of the first three of the six parks.
“Equitable Cities is committed to bringing community narratives, visions, and values into our research, planning, and policy recommendations through the local knowledge of the communities we work in,” Charles T. Brown, founder and CEO, said. “Our goal is to reconnect communities suffering from disinvestment through transportation planning and research that focuses on the way each community experiences its parks and streets.”
The analysis will help determine if the six parks’ infrastructure leaves them vulnerable to criminal activity or if it promotes an environment residents can enjoy.
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Turner said an analysis was already done at Blackshear Park where they found sightline issues. He explained that in some areas of the park, parents might not be able to see their kids playing. Through this project, Turner and Healthy Savannah hope to work with the community to find solutions.
“We want to work with community members to find what that solution is," Turner said. "And we want to carry their voice. This gives us the opportunity to do just that."
According to Healthy Savannah, they plan to create focus groups within neighborhoods of the parks to foster community engagement.
“Our collective goal is to reconnect communities suffering from disinvestment by improving the environments and infrastructure within those public spaces," Turner said.