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What is the definition of a park?

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 25, 2013

Is a park a large green area where we can walk, hike, play sports, picnic, children play? Or is it a tiny green area with no more space than a bench, a picnic table and barbeque grill?

Too many developments say they have a park, or even two parks, but really they are just a seating/eating area with a bit of lawn.

Can we call them both the same thing?

Comments (8)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 25, 2013 at 10:25 pm

It may not come under the heading of what is a park, but we really need to increase our field space for sports. You may ask why, well look for the green PAASL square advertising heavily on the Palo Alto Weekly. They need more Palo Alto residents to enable them to play on our fields and they explain it if you click on the register button. Here is a link Web Link and you will see why they need more field space.

This is why we need to understand that a small green area with seating, play structures and a picnic table and grill, cannot be called parks. We need to increase our field space to enable our little kids to be able to play sports in our parks.

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Posted by Take my money and run
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Since many of the soccer playing on the PAASL come from outside Palo Alto, it's not Palo Alto that needs to provide more soccer fields, it's neighboring communities.

Why should the residents of Palo Alto always have to come up with the money to support the wants and needs of residents from neighboring communities? Come on get those other cities to provide the playing fields.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2013 at 8:49 am

I agree that the PAASL take up field space in our local parks, and they are a great adult organized league which is just as necessary as kids' leagues. I think adult leagues should be in the Baylands sports area which would free up space in our local parks for younger kids.

All developments are building "parks" but none of them appear to be the type of park which help organized sport have more field space. With more residents, it is obvious that AYSO, Little League, etc. are going to have more teams. More teams mean more field space to get all the games and all the practices in. How can we give every 7 year old in Palo Alto a chance to do a field sport if we don't have enough field space?

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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2013 at 9:17 am

Heritage Park (where the old Palo Alto Medical used to be) is big enough to be used as a playing field, at least for younger kids. But it was deliberately planted with a few trees in the middle to make that impossible. Unfortunate.

A bit of grass and a picnic table does not make a park. Neither does outdoor space with tables and chairs that get used by a restaurant (St. Michael's Alley and Caffe Riace). A park should have room to roam and play.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Time to revisit this discussion since it is now election time. Fixing the boardwalk and interpretive center at the Baylands is as important as any other park space.

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Posted by Ahahaha
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 30, 2014 at 6:40 pm

According to the Planning Commission, a park can be a postage stamp size of grass with a small bench, no trees.

They are certainly causing Palo Alto to lose its charm and luster.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 31, 2014 at 12:49 am

A playing field is not a park. No one would call the fields at Page Mill and ECR a park.

You want playing fields. Which is fine. But a park does not have to be large enough to host a soccer field. Try visiting London and convince the locals that their local (and beautiful) neighborhood parks are not parks.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 31, 2014 at 9:40 am

Good point about the London parks. Many of the parks, or squares in London were built at the time the adjacent houses were built. At the time, those houses had no garden space and the green square was a substitute so that the residents had a place to enjoy some green space, walk and sit, and see some flowers, trees and nature. These squares were often locked with the residents having keys and non residents were not able to see through the gates and bushes at what was beyond. This enabled them to be a private space for local residents only, not for visitors (unless they were visiting the residents) and not as a short cut through to get from A to B.

It raises the good point that so many of these new developments, townhomes, etc. have no space for children to play, room for hosting a barbeque for friends, or sitting in the shade of a tree as opposed to an umbrella. A park is a place for these residents to enjoy instead of a back yard. And hey, they don't even have to cut the grass or sweep the leaves.

So park definitions vary depending on the type of housing in which you live. If you have a backyard, you look on a park as something very different to those who only have a concrete patio outside their living room door.

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