McAlester News-Capital

McAlester News-Capital office

Spring and summer weather allows us time to enjoy some time at city parks.

The city of McAlester's 16 public parks offer several outdoor activities — outdoor sports, walking, hiking, jogging, running, swimming, wading and lots more — with most getting recent upgrades.

"We just want people to enjoy our parks," city of McAlester Community Services Director Doug Basinger told us in a story for our upcoming McAlester Living magazine set to publish June 26. "We're constantly trying to improve them."

City of McAlester Grant Writer Stephanie Giacomo applies for grants to help stretch the Parks Department's budget.

Some grants recently obtained for city parks include:

• 2019 — A $5,000 AARP Community Challenge Grant toward items such as tables, chairs, benches, trash cans and other amenities at Arvest Park.

• 2019 — A $10,000 Oklahoma Municipal Assurance Group Recognition Program grant for improvements at Leadership Park.

• 2020 – A $64,000 Oklahoma State Parks Recreational Trails Program grant toward the Rotary Park Trail reconstruction.

• 2020 — A $20,000 Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET Healthy Incentive grant toward improvements at Michael J. Hunter Memorial Park.

"We have been tentatively approved for a Land and Water Conservation grant from Oklahoma State Parks for $325,800 to build a splash pad in Mullen Park and are awaiting the grant agreement," Giacomo told us.

That's a lot of progress made to help upgrade our parks.

We applaud everyone involved for their work to focus on updating city parks — and we hope it continues because parks can revitalize communities.

Parks provide visual appeal and can reshape neighborhoods.

Parks enhance property values, increase municipal revenue, and attract home buyers and workers.

Parks create safer neighborhoods, promote public health, and provide learning opportunities for children.

They also bring communities together for birthday parties, Little League games, and other fun events.

So we hope the progress continues at city parks — and we urge everyone to check them out.

• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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