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To the Editor:

Recently in our community, there has been talk of the city ceasing maintenance and care of our neighborhood parks. Park resources would be devoted to the two largest parks in Mount Vernon. I feel that this would be a step backwards for our community.

Neighborhood parks allow youth of all ages healthy alternatives for exercise and recreation that are within safe walking distance of their home. Youth don't always have transportation to a centralized park. Avoiding a car ride by walking to a neighborhood park saves gas and carbon emission and is also a healthy alternative. Kids feel a sense of pride in their neighborhood and their park when they are old enough to walk there on their own. Successful communities need to upgrade and expand infrastructure of roads, sewers and utilities, but we also need to upgrade and expand our green infrastructures.

Neighborhood parks attract families and improve real estate sales in their areas. These parks can define the shape and feel of our city and its neighborhoods. Parks can support stabilization of faltering neighborhoods and provide a landmark element and a point of pride for residents of the neighborhood.

Evidence shows that when located within residential areas, parks foster neighborhoods with fewer violent and property crimes and where neighbors tend to support and protect one another.

These are just a few of the reasons why I urge the leaders of Mount Vernon to find a way to save our valuable neighborhood city parks.

Elly Young

Mount Vernon

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