Paramount's Pocket Parks Beautify Vacant Lots and Prevent Econimic Decline Project Wins 1999 City Livability Award
Pocket Parks Project was created in 1997 by Paramount Mayor Gene Daniels
to address the problem that blighted vacant lots presented to
neighborhoods in his city. Vacant lots were continual maintenance problems
and often attracted illicit activities.
Although owners of the lots would respond to Code Enforcement
citations and occasionally clean them, the problems would inevitably recur
because the lots were vacant and unattended.
Daniels saw a way to turn this problem around . While negotiating for the right-of-way during a
street-widening project, the mayor also offered to clean up the lot and
turn it into a green space. The
owner agreed and the first pocket park was born.
Since then, seven other formerly vacant lots have been transformed
into neighborhood parks.
expenditures for the program and the creation of eight pocket parks are
approximately $78,000, yet the benefits have far exceeded the costs.
For this small financial investment, the city has removed
long-existing blighted conditions that foster economic decline and crime.
Of equal importance, unsightly vacant lots, which neighboring
residents had come to dread, were transformed into restful spots that
citizens can use and enjoy.
pocket parks also provide additional open space for children to play and
families to gather. Although
the city has ten larger parks, the pocket parks are of a neighborhood
character and residents of the immediate area can easily walk to them.
Daniels' Pocket Parks Project garnered top honors for cities with
populations less than 100,000 in the 1999 City Livability Awards Program,
sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Waste Management. City Livability Awards recognize and honor mayors for
exemplary leadership in developing and implementing programs that improve
the quality of life in America's cities. The awards were announced in New
Orleans on June 12 at the 67th Annual Conference of Mayors.
City Livability Awards were announced and presented at the Conference of
Mayors' Annual Luncheon by Mr. Rod Proto, then President and Chief
Operating Officer of Waste Management, Inc., the world's largest provider
of comprehensive waste services. Waste
Management's support makes the City Livability Awards Program possible.
The winning cities were determined by an independent panel of judges,
selected by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
"The Pocket Parks Project is a true 'win-win-win' situation
for the owner of the vacant lot, the city and the community," noted
the panel of judges.
have learned that small beautification efforts reap big results,"
Mayor Daniels said in accepting his award.
"I am proud and honored to accept this recognition of our
achievements on behalf of the city of Paramount."
at Waste Management are very proud to support the continuing strong
efforts of mayors across this nation to improve the quality of life in
their communities," Mr. Proto said in presenting the award.
"Their leadership and creativity are critical to achieving
greater livability in America's cities, and we are delighted to showcase
the exciting and innovative projects they have developed."