High-profile parks such as Chicago's 606 and New York City's High Line can drive up property values and encourage real estate development that encroaches on existing residents and neighborhoods. "The question now is, how do we create amenities like this that are inclusive, not exclusive?" says Juan Carlos Linares of LUCHA, a housing-advocacy group.
Lake Okeechobee in Florida is struggling with blooms of toxic blue-green algae that pose a health threat and could affect tourism. Groups such as the Everglades Trust and the Sierra Club are supporting legislation that would buy land south of the lake to create a freshwater reservoir to alter water flows.
Grand Rapids, Mich., will not consolidate its 911 services with Kent County because the financial savings would not be realized for up to 15 years. Eric DeLong, the city's interim manager, said he is confident in the capabilities of the city's dispatch center.
Among the methods Denver is considering to reduce its carbon footprint are new regulations on buildings beyond a requirement to add green roofs to new structures. For example, the city could require new buildings to be "net zero" energy, with incremental improvements required for existing structures.
Parks and recreation agencies should be acquainted with government guidelines on the disposal of fluorescent lights, especially as regulations are different for nonresidential users, writes Bobby Farris of TerraCycle Regulated Waste. "Box and store, shipping or crushing bulbs are three options for disposing of used CFLs, linear bulbs and high-density lamps," he writes.
The defunct Snell Road Landfill in Oshkosh, Wis., has been transformed into a conservation park. Ken Robl Conservation Park features a pair of ponds, hiking and bicycling trails and a pier built from recycled plastics.
A play area for children of all abilities has opened in Soda Springs, Idaho. Caribou CommUNITY Playground was hand-painted and hand-built, with sensory panels, therapeutic swings, a merry-go-round and other features.
Playground manufacturer GameTime has awarded a $25,000 grant to Leesburg, Va., to install inclusive and accessible equipment at a playground in Foxridge Park. "The overall look, as well as components like the balance log and mushrooms, help tie the active and passive areas of the park together," said city official Lisa Hamaker.
Pasco County, Fla., officials say a problem with telecommunications firm Spectrum caused a woman to get a busy signal multiple times while trying to reach 9-1-1 dispatchers. This problem has been reported three times by Spectrum customers this year, and the company said it is following up on the issue.
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