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Articles by Ohio State Director for the Trust for Public Land Shanelle Smith Whigham

Featured Article

As the weather begins to warm up (and especially after nearly two months of living under stay-at-home orders), everyone has been looking to get outside. For kids in the Stockyards neighborhood here in Cleveland, that will likely mean heading to the closest thing they have to a nearby “park” — a vacant lot bounded on one side by railroad tracks and a broken-down, chain-link fence on the other.

The neighborhood has come together to create a de facto park using donated benches and picnic tables, and the lot is sometimes mowed, but it’s also filled with weeds; there are no basketball courts, water fountains, or even bathrooms. For thousands of kids across the country, this kind of space is the closest thing they’ll know to a park. One hundred million Americans — including 28 million children — do not have access to a park close to home.

My organization, The Trust for Public Land, is working to change that. Ostensibly, our work is about ensuring equitable access to green space and creating parks, but it’s also about helping people find their voice in our democracy.

In order to ensure that communities across the country have equitable access to p... Read more