by Kelly Tolbert, Recreation Coordinator, City of Prescott
If anything, the recent pandemic has shown us how essential outdoor spaces are in improving mental health and quality of life.
The City of Prescott’s Open Space Policy includes the verbiage “to promote quality of life for the citizens of Prescott by preserving and protecting the natural environment that has given this City much of its character.”
Adopted by the City Council as Resolution 3700 Aug. 23, 2005, it goes to say: “As Prescott continues to grow, open spaces will be woven into the fabric of the City.”
Prior to the adoption of this official policy, natural parkland purchases were accomplished through complex land exchanges in the 1980s and ‘90s including Stricklin Park, Acker Park, a portion of Storm Ranch and Granite Dells Ranch parcels north of Willow Lake.
According to Making the Case for Designing Active Cities, Active Living Research (2015), use of green spaces is associated with decreased health complaints, improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduced stress, improved general health perceptions and a greater ability to face problems.
In 2000, the Prescott voters approved a 1% sales tax extension for street improvements and open space acquisitions, motivated by the purchase of 32 acres east of Thumb Butte also known as Butterfly Hill.
This period marks the infancy of preserving open space with the formation of a Mayor’s Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee. This committee developed the current open space policy that revised the previous Open Space Plan from 1999.