Mayor Stinchcomb: Gahanna’s Parks & Recreation Programs Impact Everyone
By Becky Stinchcomb
Mayor, City of Gahanna
At City Council last week, I presented a proclamation celebrating the Ohio Parks & Recreation Association Parks & Recreation Month throughout July. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that in Gahanna than when we officially opened our latest critical piece of the Big Walnut Trail.
But this trail is just part of what our Parks & Recreation program is all about and I would like to highlight some of the other benefits we enjoy right here in Gahanna.
Our first priority as a city is to be Citizens Centric. Our Parks & Recreation facilities and programs are just that, and are not only a source of pride, but add to our quality of life, our health and a fact that is often overlooked, the economic success of Gahanna.
I am proud that Gahanna owns and operates 770 acres of parklands. You may not know this, but that is the second highest acreage total in suburban Franklin County!
Not only does this provide our residents with a wide variety of activities and opportunities for healthy activity, but our Parks & Recreation program continues to protect our environment. Over the years, we have grown our protected areas to include a state nature preserve and over 200 acres of preservation and conservation property.
Our Parks & Recreation green initiatives and programs contributed to Gahanna being named SWACO’s first Community of The Year and their programs are teaching our residents how we can all be good stewards of the environment.
But the benefits to Gahanna are not limited to individual residents. They are crucial to the smart growth and economic development of our city as well.
Parks & Recreation services help attract businesses when they relocate or expand. Businesses often seek communities with strong parks and recreation programs as an attractive asset for employees and their families. The Creekside development adjacent to Creekside Park has attracted 45 small businesses since opening in 2008.
Parks & Recreation development and creation add value to business location sites, attracting private investment and jobs. Locally, the Olde Gahanna and Central Park projects have created an estimated 1100 jobs in our community.
Always striving for innovative funding, Parks & Recreation receives the bulk of its funding from the City’s General Fund, but generates income through the Golf Course, aquatics facilities, Camp Friendship, paddleboat and skate rentals, specialty programming and grants. In addition to General Funds, Parks & Recreation received over $1.1 million in grant funds and generated over $1 million in user fees.
I am so thrilled with the official opening of the Big Walnut Trail Bridge along Section 7. Last week’s opening and ribbon cutting was one in a series of events which has been taking place this month around Ohio to celebrate Ohio Parks and Recreation Month, sponsored by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association.
I want to encourage everyone to discover their local Parks & Recreation program here in Gahanna. For more information, visit your Parks & Recreation web page.