Content provided by our partner Monmouth Conservation Foundation ~
One silver lining of the pandemic has been the increase in people going outside and visiting parks. Parks have taken on an entirely new importance in our lives as they serve as an option for social interaction for children and adults alike as we continue to endure this pandemic. For those of us blessed with beautiful patios and garden spaces, we have never utilized them more as we all strive for places to safely socially distance while trying to remain connected to the people we love.
But what about people that don’t have access to yards and outdoor spaces of their own? Where do they go for fresh air or a stroll to clear their head during these trying times? For the many people in our community living in spaces with little natural light or private outdoor options, access to parks within walking distance to their homes has taken on critical importance. Monmouth Conservation Foundation (MCF) believes that access to safe, outdoor spaces is a basic human right and is working to create and revitalize existing neighborhood parks – now more important than ever.
The importance of neighborhood parks in our suburban and urban areas of Monmouth County is not lost on MCF. It is our goal to ensure everyone in our communities has access to safe outdoor spaces, ideally within walking distance to their residence. In addition to the farms and rural open spaces, we preserve and are perhaps better known for through our 44-year history as a community land trust in Monmouth County, creating and revitalizing neighborhood parks remains high on our priority list.
Here are two of the neighborhood park projects we are currently working on:
Jackson Woods Park, Long Branch
The City of Long Branch, community advocates, and MCF have joined forces to bring a dynamic new vision to this wooded urban park to reality. The 13-acre oasis, located near the oceanfront within the north-end neighborhood of Long Branch, provides a quiet place for wildlife and pets, and reflection by people within an urban setting. Its location next to a large apartment complex and a school, render it an important component of the neighborhood, providing a peaceful place for dog walking or a calm stroll after a long day.
When the park fell into disrepair, a group of residents acted and turned to MCF for help. The City of Long Branch and community groups are now working towards the revitalization of the park into a thriving and well-maintained space for people of all ages to enjoy. Improvements to date include a gazebo, improved parking area, and countless landscape beds. Plans for 2021 include a significant upgrade to the trails within the park and the installation of a butterfly garden. Yet, more funding is needed to bring the full vision to reality for this unique urban space that will include sculptures, native plant beds, and security lighting to ensure safety for visitors and protection of newly installed park infrastructure. Jackson Woods Park is the only wooded public green space for many of the residents that live nearby and we need financial assistance to complete a safe and vibrant passive recreation space for neighboring residents to enjoy. To make a tax-deductible donation to support the revitalization of this park, please visit our website here:
Shrewsbury Riverfront Park, Sea Bright
After Superstorm Sandy washed away the former Anchorage Apartment complex that was once located on the one- acre site, the Borough of Sea Bright wanted the land to remain available to the public as open space. The borough recognized the need for public access to the riverfront and joined forces with MCF to transform the land into a park for the entire community to enjoy. Progress is already underway at the park, but 2021 will welcome more park improvements as fundraising efforts continue. The second phase of improvements at the park will include a shaded patio space, fish cleaning station for the vibrant fishing community in the area, and various walkways to allow for passive enjoyment of the beautiful riverfront views and ocean breezes. Surrounded by private beach clubs and residences, this small park is the only major public space along the riverfront available for fishing and passive enjoyment. To make a tax-deductible donation to support the revitalization of this park, please visit our website here:
Do you know of a neighborhood park needed for your community?
MCF is looking to help communities in need of support to ensure everyone has access to a neighborhood park.
As your community land trust, we want to hear about the needs in your community.
Contact us at (732) 671-700