The City of New Brunswick has long been a leader in ensuring health and wellness for its residents. Over the past three years, Mayor Cahill and city agencies have worked in partnership with a diverse group of organizations known as the Healthier New Brunswick (HNB) network to create a Blueprint for Action that outlines strategies for improving health and wellness among city residents.
Among other recommendations, the blueprint outlines approaches for increasing active living among city residents, including conducting a citywide parks assessment in order to maximize public spaces and parks to help enhance the quality of life of all New Brunswick residents. The New Brunswick Parks Action Plan is intended to fulfill the parks assessment recommendation and help guide several aspects of the management of park assets, including efforts to ensure an equitable distribution of park-planning resources for the residents of New Brunswick.
A rapid park assessment using a methodology developed by The Trust for Public Land evaluated all 16 public parks in New Brunswick to outline existing strengths and areas of opportunity to better serve New Brunswick residents. Key informant interviews were conducted with a variety of New Brunswick city staff members, community leaders, and other parties. Several focus groups were conducted with traditionally underrepresented communities to supplement existing community feedback derived from the Blueprint for Action. A project steering committee offered insights to the project staff during the course of the project. Project staff also attended three meetings with the Parks and Gardens Commission to receive input.
This report contains park-specific recommendations for each of the 16 parks, as well as systemwide park recommendations for implementation. It also provides insights to further opportunities to promote community stewardship, enhance existing park programming based on expressed interest from the community, and identify ways to maximize existing park space to better serve the community. It includes solutions that involve strengthening existing and new partnerships, leveraging current parklands, and capitalizing on existing park assets that the community already cares for and enjoys.
In sum, the City of New Brunswick is to be commended for its dedication to providing quality open space and programming for the enjoyment, health, and wellness of its residents. The distribution of parks throughout the city, the high degree of use of the system, the high quality of maintenance, the diversity of park experiences available to residents, and the current efforts to expand the park system to address city-identified areas of need all collectively demonstrate a city committed to its park system as a
centerpiece of a thriving and vibrant community. A densely populated urban center with a highly diverse population, in both socioeconomic and demographic terms, New Brunswick has succeeded in ensuring that its residents have access to active and passive recreational opportunities through an expansive parks system. This plan paves the way for additional efforts to help New Brunswick create the most robust and well-used park system in New Jersey.