By Vice Mayor Lynda Roesch

If you answered yes to the question in the headline, you should head out to one of Montgomery’s six parks or its nature preserve.  A recent study from Denmark found that growing up near parks or green spaces is associated with up to 55 percent lower risk of mental health disorders in adulthood.  Other studies support the correlation between a decrease in stress and living close to green space.  Those who live in areas with more parks and green spaces have less depression, less mental distress, less anxiety, and improved mental health.

 

Certainly, using the parks promotes physical movement such as walking, running and playing sports.  Any of these activities can improve physical health.  Such activity results in decreased health complaints, improved blood pressure, and improved cholesterol levels.

 

Montgomery’s parks feature many diverse trees which are known to provide many health benefits, including:

  • cooling;
  • fighting air pollution;
  • boosting life span;
  • improving mental and physical health; and
  • improving sleep.

 

Additionally, parks encourage social interaction and community building.  This is obvious in the sports leagues (soccer, baseball, lacrosse, etc.) that use the fields in our parks.  We see it in the tennis and pickleball courts, as well as in the playground areas.  Shelters and picnic areas also promote social interaction.  Overall, the parks promote community engagement and civic pride.  These social activities can significantly impact both physical and psychological well-being.

 

As if the physical and mental benefits were not enough, parks also contribute to the economic vitality of Montgomery.  The parks attract homebuyers and can increase residential property values.  The trees and shrubs in the parks help to control stormwater runoff and air pollution.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.  The tree canopy and vegetation capture rainwater and help to filter pollutants from the runoff.

 

Finally, the parks system offers educational value.  The scout troops routinely use the parks for teaching.  The City has its own Park Explorer Program to educate youth about nature and trees.

 

Montgomery is fortunate to have 96 acres of parkland and green space.  Regular contact with nature is beneficial in many ways.  Residents and visitors can utilize this resource to improve their health mentally, physically, environmentally, and economically.

 

Can you name all of Montgomery’s parks?  Find the answer here.