By Maggie Murdoch, City of Salida Recreation Supervisor
I have had the pleasure of running the City’s recreation programming for the past year. On June 1st, I welcomed my son into this world, so I am taking the summer off but look forward to returning to the job in the fall with even more motivation now to enhance Salida’s recreational opportunities.
I would like to thank Salida City Council for taking the time to recognize the vital importance of parks and recreation, both symbolically by affirming the Proclamation that July be Parks and Recreation month, and practically, through their support and continued investment in parks and our recreation department.
Parks and Recreation provide so much to our community, socially, economically, and environmentally. Official uses, such as the Farmers Market at Alpine Park, or Salida Rec’s summer concert series at Riverside Park, Thursdays at 6, attract both locals and visitors to a central gathering point, encouraging social interaction and physical activity.
These types of events also support our local and sustainable economy, by providing a place for local vendors and artists to gather and share their harvests, crafts, and talents with the community. Food, music, theater, playgroups, sports, and more all enhance the vibrancy of our community, and the parks provide a lovely outdoor setting for these activities.
Unofficial, or casual uses of our parks are an equally important aspect to the vitality of Salida. When a sunny weekend or warm summer evening draws people out of their homes and offices to the local parks, children and adults benefit from seeing old friends and meeting new ones around green public spaces. Picnic areas, trails, sports courts, and playgrounds are simple yet effective measures to prevent physical inactivity and social isolation.
But parks also provide a safe haven for those seeking quiet solitude, found in grassy shade along the riverbanks, or high on the trails behind ‘S’ Mountain. These things have a measurable, and yet priceless, value to the health of our citizens.
And, finally, it goes without saying that the simple existence of a park preserves a piece of open space, something valuable to all human kind, but, I would wager, particularly valuable to citizens of Salida.
To celebrate Parks and Recreation month, Salida Rec will be again hosting free public ice cream socials during the month of July. On Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m. the social will be in Centennial Park; July 18 in Chisholm Park, and July 25 in Alpine Park.
On behalf of the recreation department, we invite you to join us for banana splits, games, and socializing. I hope to see all of you there! Visit www.salidarec.com for additional events happening this summer.