The first of four parks projects has begun in Hammond, Ind. Improvements at Edison Park include playgrounds, dozens of tree plantings, skateboarding, a picnic area and a walkway. "We're trying to give all of our parks their own interesting unique feel, so people will go and visit all the different parks," says Mark Heintz of the city Parks and Recreation Department.
Pediatrician Dr. Robert Zarr of Park Rx America is a leader in the movement to prescribe outdoor time in parks as a health benefit for children and adults. "Clearly there are going to be risks, but the risks of not going outdoors and continuing the pattern of 90% indoors [are] going to kill us," said Capt. Sarah Newman of the National Park Service.
Research by the National Recreation and Park Association and George Mason University found that parks can spark economic development, but also can lead to gentrification. "[A]n approach to achieving social equity through local parks should begin with the premise that low-income and minority residents have as much equal right to access quality parks and green spaces as more advantaged populations," argues David Rouse of the American Planning Association.
The revitalization and reopening of Splash Valley Aquatic Park in Kankakee, Ill., is set to move forward after the district board agreed to a $2 million bond issue. Work on the facility is expected to begin next spring.
Calls to 9-1-1 during the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., went to the Coral Springs communications center, but because Coral Springs did not join the regional communications center, which dispatches police in Parkland, the calls had to be transferred. This may have contributed to a delayed law-enforcement response, according to the school's public safety commission.
Minneapolis Park police Chief Jason Ohotto said officers have to respond to situations based on the information they receive in 9-1-1 calls, even though that information may be false. Officers have been criticized for their response to a call saying four black teenagers in a park may have been carrying a gun. The caller, who has not been located, could face misdemeanor charges.
Residents in Monroe County, Mich., will vote on a surcharge increase on phone bills that would help fund equipment upgrades for 9-1-1 operations. Among the new equipment is GPS location information to help dispatchers locate callers on cellphones.
Noonlight is aiming to insert an app into connected home devices that would enable the devices to initiate a call to 9-1-1 through a dedicated call center. Noonlight is partnering with Amazon's Alexa, Google Home, Canary's security camera and others.
Cincinnati will begin using Smart9-1-1, a system that automatically provides personal details to dispatchers when a user calls 9-1-1. The change was prompted by the death of 16-year-old Kyle Plush in April and is expected to make it easier to locate people in emergencies.
The city of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, will unveil a new housing development built using 3D printing technology next year. Using the new technology will give people more control over home design, says Deputy Mayor Yasin Torunoglu.