Green Means Grow

By Lance Evans

About a week ago I spent a good chunk of my Saturday assembling a secondhand playground set for my two nieces. Although it took about twice as long as it should have, it was pretty enjoyable.

Anyone who has ever put something together for two little kids, while the little kids were present, can affirm it takes a little longer. The persistent questions and how kids always seem to be standing right where you need to be, just add to the experience.

As a looked at a job well done I couldn't help but thinking how much more inviting this yard was. A secondhand swing set and slide turned a formerly drab area of grass into a verdant playtime utopia.

Rural communities can take advantage of their space by creating enticing recreational areas for residents to enjoy.

Investing in green space is an excellent opportunity to enliven a community. Trails, parks, playgrounds, community gardens and other types of recreation areas have a myriad of advantages. Not only will these projects beautify a community they will increase physical activity, camaraderie and involvement among citizens.

A beautiful area to gather and enjoy the outdoors strengthens relationships between residents as well as increases the zeal rural citizens have for the outdoors.

A rise in citizen involvement strengthens the bond between an area and its inhabitants. This type of connection increases local business, and reinforces community pride.

Levels of physical inactivity are peaking across the country. Increased physical activity lowers health risks, and leads to a greater quality of life. Besides, getting out and doing something is always more fun than staying at home watching television.

Getting people outdoors, sprucing  up neighborhoods,  fortifying relationships, and increasing involvement are all valuable ways to enliven rural communities. The simplest projects can really make a community flourish.