Is there a park or public space (not a road) within a 5 minute walk of your home?

Sloan Street Park has a small playground and a little field that is inviting to the residents and visitors of the Mill Village area.Parks and public space is, in my opinion, one of the areas where our city excels.  Roswell is actually one of the metro Atlanta cities with the largest amount of park space per capita and it is apparent that people use it.  The city of Roswell estimates that there are around 2 million park visits annually to the city park system.  I live within a 5 minute walk of four parks and several trails and I use them almost daily and there are always visitors.  

Unfortunately, not every resident has the luxury of walking to the park.  Lack of walkable park access becomes more and more prevalent the further from the historic district you get.  But, the park space, over 900 acres not including the national park system, is distributed out with some of the larger parks away from the historic district.  

When you compare Roswell to the city of Atlanta, we're doing just fine though.  As of 2008, Atlanta had only 4.5% of its land dedicated to park space.  That was the lowest among the top 25 largest cities.  The Beltline will help increase that significantly though.  Now, Roswell actually trailed Atlanta in this area with only 4% of our land dedicated to parks and greenspace.  This seems bad but we must also take a look at population.  Comparatively speaking, the city of Roswell has 13.5 acres of parks and greenspace per 1,000 residents compared to the city of Atlanta's 7.7 (2007 data).  The national average is 13.6 acres.  Now, 13.5 is good when you compare us to our anchor city to the south however we might want to look to our neighboring county to the east for a few tips.  From 2000 to 2008, Gwinnett county acquired over 9,000 acres of new park land and was named the best large park system in America by the National Parks and Recreation Association. (I still can't bring myself to like Gwinnett though).  They are at 15.5 acres per 1,000 residents.  

If I could wave a magic wand and make one change to the park system here in Roswell, I would immediately take foreclosed or abandoned properties and turn them into pocket parks such as Sloan Street Park.  The goal would be to have a park within a walkable half mile of 90% of the residents of Roswell. Ideally, every child would have a park within a quarter mile walk but with the dendritic road system that we have, that just would not be possible.

So, to answer the original question,  'Is there a park or public space (not a road) that is within a 5 minute walk of your home?, the answer is likely no.  Roswell, we still have some work to do here and the focus, in my opinion, should be on small neighborhood parks instead of big multi-use parks with ballfields and such.

Source: AJC