I often use this blog as an opportunity to celebrate our community. It’s no secret that Meridian is an amazing community that offers so much to so many people. With outstanding parks, safe streets, our progressive education system, and quality neighborhoods it is easy to see that we have many reasons to celebrate Meridian.
Others are taking notice. In fact with in a weeks time, two national news publications recognized Meridian as an ideal place to live. Family Circle magazine and CNN/Money magazine both identified Meridian as one of the premiere communities in the country to live.
On July 7th Family Circle was the first publication to recognize Meridian as part of its annual effort to identify communities that are a perfect place for families to call home. Family Circle designated Meridian as one of the Top 10 Best Cities for Families. Indeed we are an ideal location for families and our emphasis on youth can be seen through groups and organizations like Meridian’s Promise which was highlighted by the article. The individuals who make up Meridian’s Promise, the Kiwanis, Boys & Girls Club, Department of Labor, and so many other groups show our Meridian’s ongoing commitment to serving families.
In addition, Meridian was also acknowledged for having a strong public education system in Joint School District No. 2, quality parks, and a low crime rate. This acknowledgment is a reflection of the role that all of our great community partners play in making Meridian a place to call home.
As a community we had reason to ‘celebrate’ regarding the accolades from the Family Circle recognition. Then a few days later CNN/Money magazine identified Meridian as one of its 100 Best Places to Live for 2010. CNN/Money reporters crunched reams of data to find communities that have optimal combinations of fiscal strength, family-wage jobs, great schools, safe streets, low crime, lots to do, charm, and other features such as proximity to world class recreation that make a town great for raising a family.
Together we have created, and are nurturing, a community that families want to be a part of; I have no doubt these collaborative efforts are why we continue to receive national attention. Meridian is recognized as a community that blends big-city opportunities through arts and cultural opportunities with choices in housing; that offers an ideal blend of affordable housing, good jobs, top-rated schools, and wide-open spaces; and a lot less stress than many other cities and towns. The City of Meridian continues to place great importance to our fiscal responsibility, to public safety, and to places to gather and to play – all are areas that matter to our citizens.
So, I guess our secret’s out so let’s celebrate Meridian as a premier city to live, work and raise a family. Do you like living in Meridian, if so I want to know about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why Meridian is the top place for your family.
There is a long-standing saying in the field of parks and recreation nationwide that the “benefits are endless.” The longer I am involved with providing parks and recreation services, the more I see the multiple benefits they provide to the community.
Parks and recreation services provide economic benefits to the community, such as attracting business relocation. Corporate CEOs say that quality of life (including parks and recreation opportunities) is the third most important factor in locating a new business. The National Association of Home Builders has found that 65% of home shoppers felt that parks would seriously influence them to move to a community. Private property values have been shown to increase if they are in proximity to a park.
Parks and recreation can provide personal health benefits. Creation of places for physical activity, such as parks, produces a 48% increase in the frequency of physical activity (Sherer, 2003). Strong evidence shows that when people have access to parks, they exercise more (Why America Needs More City parks & Open Space, Trust for Public Land, 2003). Additional examples of personal benefits that have been found to be correlated with parks and recreation include:
- Leisure opportunities for youth provide positive lifestyle choices and alternatives to self-destructive behavior.
- Relaxation, rest, and revitalization through leisure are essential to stress management in today's busy and demanding world.
- Parks and open spaces bring beauty to an area while giving people satisfaction and improving their quality of life.
- Meaningful leisure activity can be an essential source of self-esteem and positive self-image.
Social benefits can also be realized from parks and recreation activities, such as strengthening families and building a sense of community pride. Community special events—such as the recent Independence Day Celebration in Storey Park, with fireworks from our partners at Meridian Speedway; or Dairy Days events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce; or CableONE Movie Night in Settlers Park; or Christmas in Meridian later in the year—are all examples of special events that bring the community together and provide families opportunities to spend time together. According to an REI national survey of parents with children ages four to 14, 88% of parents believe that participating in outdoor activities strengthens family relationships. Other studies have shown that juvenile crime decreases when they have meaningful recreation opportunities.
Finally, parks and open spaces also provide environmental benefits to the community. Parks and pathways play a key role in preserving water and air quality, reducing congestion, and conserving wildlife habitat. For many people, their first fishing experience is in a park pond. People can learn about the environment firsthand in parks and take those lessons home with them.
Be happier. Build family relationships. Increase community pride. Reduce crime. Increase property values. Provide safe places to play. Meet friends. Relax. Play. Attract and retain businesses. Create memories. Breathe fresh air. Walk. Enjoy the outdoors. Take a class for fun.
These are some of the benefits provided by parks and recreation opportunities in this wonderful City of Meridian, Idaho—recently named by Family Circle Magazine as one of its Top Ten Towns for Families and will be featured in its upcoming August 2010 issue. Meridian is truly a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. I hope that you enjoy some of these benefits as much as we enjoy providing them.
Want to learn more about the benefits of parks and recreation?
Check out these links:
I find myself, a rather methodical strategist, overcome by a strong sense of urgency every day when I look at the latest statistics. Nearly 7 million jobs were lost in America during the recession. According to a study done by the University of Kentucky for the U.S. Department of Commerce, many unemployed have been out of work for an unusual length of time. Nearly 6.3 million Americans have been unemployed for over six months, the largest number since the federal government started keeping track in 1948. The average duration of unemployment—28.5 weeks—is the highest since the end of the Second World War.
We’re feeling these numbers here in Idaho. Currently, approximately 25,000 people are unemployed throughout the Treasure Valley. Many of them are no longer counted in national unemployment statistics because they have merely given up.
I feel ever-greater urgency to tell everyone who can create a new job to do it quickly, remembering that Imaginative small actions lead to greater impact. The question to each of you is, ‘What are those small actions?’ Stop and think for a moment. What would it take for your company to create just ‘one’ job? We currently have approximately 30,000 employers here in Meridian. Think about the impact that one job, per business, could have on the entire community.
There are many ways we support our local businesses through visionary leadership. We have an array of resources geared towards alternative financing, international export assistance, access to workforce development training and an array of incentives that could help your business grow. Our business retention and expansion programs are at the top of our priorities…so once again, I place the question before you, ‘What would it take for your company to create just one job?’ email@example.com
However, positive indicators show improvement in our local economy. Housing sales are up; Meridian’s population continues to grow; we currently have several businesses expanding and requests for information from companies all over the US with the intent to move to Meridian continue to come in. We have an array of robust and exciting improvements happening in the coming year and I see the upturn in the near horizon.
Earlier this year my wife and I decided to move our family from Southeastern Idaho. I wanted to make a career change and needed experience in a planning department. The county planner back home gave me some contacts in the area, so I decided to contact a few planners in the Treasure Valley to see if there was a need for a volunteer. This list included Meridian’s Planning Director. I came to Meridian once before in 2006. I got lost on Franklin Rd. The only other thing we knew about Meridian was that it was home to Bodybuilding.com.
We set out to learn more about Meridian. When we looked on Google Maps we noticed that Meridian was central to the Treasure Valley, and we could commute to downtown Boise or Caldwell or Nampa and the distances would be similar. A friend, who is a teacher in the area, spoke highly of the schools. I was surprised by its growth and all the recent development; and that Meridian had surpassed Idaho Falls and Pocatello in population. Friends commented to us that they thought Meridian was family-friendly and had low crime-rates. We were impressed enough to make plans to visit Meridian. As luck would have it my wife was also asked to interview with a company here.
Our first impressions of Meridian were great. From the exit we saw that two of our favorite businesses were located next to each other (Winco and Home Depot). Then we noticed water slides next to I-84. We knew our kids would want to cancel our plans to go to Lagoon this year and go to Roaring Springs instead. My wife smiled when we drove past the Meridian Speedway. I am a racing fan and know that some of the best racing was found at the local tracks.
We tend to point out the negatives of a new city before seeing the positives; this was not the case with Meridian. As we drove through Old Town we were impressed and looked forward to walking around some of the stores. We made our way north on Meridian and wondered where the bad areas were (assuming that there were bad areas). We could see the play ground and people fishing at Settler’s park and thought that would be a great place to take the kids. We noticed the conditions of the roads, sidewalks, and street lighting and we were impressed with the neighborhoods we visited.
We drove by City Hall and the kids’ school and could tell that they were both newer buildings and we were pleased to see these new investments to the community. We were giddy with the many choices we had for restaurants, stores, etc. As we sat on our blanket and pillows at Settler’s Park, waiting for the evening movie to start, we talked about what our thoughts were so far of Meridian. We pointed out that those quality of life issues that are important to us were on full display here and we hoped Meridian would be our home for a long time.
I knew of several planning departments in the Valley that I was interested in approaching, but based on what I had seen so far of Meridian, I wanted to start with them first. I didn’t need to go any further. After meeting with the director and members of the planning staff, I knew that this was the opportunity that I wanted and quickly asked “when can I start”? It has only been two weeks but I have felt right at home here. I look forward to volunteering here this summer.
In the past few weeks there have been some amazing events in Meridian. We have had annual events like Dairy Days, the Blue Cruise, and this weekends Independence Day celebration. These events join activities like our CableONE Movie Night in Meridian, Concerts on Broadway, and Playin’ in the Plaza taking place in downtown Meridian. As our community grows there are many events that are growing with it, giving us much to celebrate in Meridian.
With so much going on, it can be difficult to keep track of the events and activities taking place in Meridian. In an effort to make this information available in a timely and fun way, this last month the City launched a new weekly webisode program called “This Week in Meridian.”
“This Week in Meridian” is a brief weekly video series that is designed to give you basic information about all the events going on in Meridian for the upcoming week. From community events and activities to important information about our wonderful community, these videos provide a way to easily access what is taking place in Meridian via the City of Meridian website or on our Facebook Page. You can also find much of this information on the electronic reader board located on Meridian Road at City Hall.
In addition to providing important information about what is taking place in Meridian, it is also a great way to introduce our community to the City Staff members who are dedicated to serving in Meridian. Each week there will be a new City employee who will be presenting this information.
We hope by rotating hosts through out the weeks and months you will get to know the employee that you might see at one of these events in our community or interact with the next time you are at City Hall. In addition, you will be able to see what I already know – City of Meridian employees are second to none and they share the same passion for our community that you have.
I hope you find this resource beneficial as we are providing another way for you to get engaged in our community. With so many great events, many of which are at no cost to attend and provide opportunity’s to enjoy an outdoor evening celebrating with friends, families, and neighbors, we want you to know what is taking place “This Week in Meridian.”
If you have an event to be featured in the future or have a request for a host, I want to hear about it. Email me at MayorTammy@meridiancity.org; together we can celebrate all that makes Meridian the premier place to live, work and raise a family.