Good News from A Great City Haverhill, MA
The Heartbeat of Haverhill read the Facebook status of Mayor Fiorentini shortly after he posted about the opening of the new playground at Riverside Park in Haverhill. Admittedly THOH is a big fan of outdoor space, and the clever use of city land and challenging apparatus always intrigues us, but the benefits of green space in a city go far beyond making me smile. It more or less makes the whole city smile and there are multiple studies to prove that parks offer exceptional benefits to residents who take advantage of them. Parks can help reduce obesity in children and create safer, stronger neighborhoods.
According to American Planning Association: “Scientists at the Human-Environment Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studied green space alongside public housing in Chicago. (and) Other researchers who are conducting similar studies across the country are finding similar results.
The factors that explain these findings emphasize the importance of greenery in community and personal wellness.Time spent in natural surroundings relieves mental fatigue, which in turn relieves inattentiveness, irritability, and impulsivity, recognized by psychologists as precursors to violence. Green spaces also support frequent, casual contact among neighbors. This leads to the formation of neighborhood social ties, the building blocks of strong, secure neighborhoods where people tend to support,care about,and protect one another.”
See full article here: https://www.planning.org/cityparks/briefingpapers/saferneighborhoods.htm
THOH headed over to check it out. A dozen or so kids came on and off the playground during our visit and we looked for someone to demonstrate the apparatus. Imagine our surprise when a handsome young man smiled back as we introduced ourselves to his mother. The Heartbeat of Haverhill admits, we were a little star struck. Why, we’d just seen Brian W. Brown, Jr. on stage in a flawless performance as Winthrop in “The Music Man” presented by Spotlight Playhouse. The caliber of his performance and a line in the program stating he’d been in a couple of Haverhill High School plays, led us to assume he was a young-looking high schooler. In real life, he is eleven. Imagine being this talented at eleven! Just so you know, in real life he is lisp free, outgoing, attends Haverhill public school, and most importantly is very kind to his younger brothers and cousin. On stage he oozes charisma, has fabulous dance moves (he started dancing hip hop at 5) and a voice so dynamic his former voice teacher named him student of the year! His bucket list wish of being represented in the town mural does not seem in the least far-fetched.
And here he was in the park. We found our model family. Thank you to the Brown Family for allowing us to photograph you all as you enjoyed the park.
And then it was time to let the members of the Brown family have a little family time without the paparazzi chronicling their every move.
Lots of families came out to the park today as well as to Swasey Field and Plug Pond. Under the vision of Mayor Fiorentini and City Council, Haverhill is developing quite the reputation for its exceptional parks and recreational programs. Even if you’re too old for baby swings you can still “Park It Here in Haverhill”.
(c)2014 by Alison Colby-Campbell