BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Toro Urban Park Innovation Award, sponsored by The Toro Company, recognizes innovation in park management and practices, and is presented in partnership with City Parks Alliance at the international urban parks conference Greater & Greener 2019: Exploring Natural Connections. The La Lomita Park project is a unique collaboration between Denver’s Parks and Recreation and Public Works agencies, and serves as a pilot effort for the City & County of Denver’s new Green Infrastructure Implementation Strategy highlighting opportunities for implementing green infrastructure in Denver parks. The success of this project, both the collaborative approach to design and implementation as well as the performance of the park for both stormwater management and recreational purposes, establishes a precedent for future multi-agency projects. The funds from the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award will transform the park into a learning lab by supporting environmental education through interpretive signage for the community, including nearby schools.
“The theme of Greater & Greener 2019 is Exploring Natural Connections, and the La Lomita project is a great example of how agencies working together can leverage funds and expertise effectively to produce multiple benefits for the community,” said City Parks Alliance Executive Director Catherine Nagel. “Greater & Greener is designed to have a positive impact on the host cities and the Toro Urban Park Innovation Award is yet another way to help ensure that the communities near the park enjoy a lasting, tangible impact through improved signage explaining the innovative approaches and execution of the park renovation.”
La Lomita Park is near the College View/South Platte neighborhood of southwest Denver, an area with higher levels of poverty and adult obesity and less access to parks or open space when compared to Denver overall. In addition to the stormwater management benefits, the park renovation will enhance recreational opportunities with improved open space areas, and an upgraded traditional playground which includes nature play elements. Given the proximity of Schmidt Elementary School and others, the park will meet one of the needs expressed by the community with the addition of interpretive signage explaining the many benefits of outdoor environments and the park.
“The Toro Company is proud to recognize the La Lomita Park project and this collaborative partnership with the Denver Parks and Recreation and Public Works,” said Brad Hamilton, Group Vice President of The Toro Company. “The City Parks Alliance gathering of international park leaders provides the ideal venue for sharing around innovation and addressing some of the biggest challenges facing parks.”
Greater & Greener 2019 is presented by City Parks Alliance in partnership with Denver Parks and Recreation. The five-day indoor and outdoor conference will convene park leaders, city planners, design professionals, and urban park advocates in Denver, Colorado, from July 20-24. The Denver metropolitan region is one of the fastest growing in the U.S., due in part to their ongoing commitment to an outdoor urban lifestyle. Historic vision and modern execution of the Denver park system offer leading examples of urban park planning, partnerships, design, and programming.
The Greater & Greener 2019 conference sessions, tours, mobile workshops and networking opportunities have been carefully curated to foster an honest dialogue around social equity, cross-agency and cross-sector partnerships, funding models, and replicable solutions for parks. The sessions are organized around six tracks; Activating Urban Parks Through Recreation, City Park Essentials, Equity, Funding, Parks as Infrastructure, and Urban Greening and Biodiversity. An International Forum on July 24 will focus on global trends and approaches that cities around the world are taking to leverage the power of parks and green space.
For Greater & Greener registration and program information visit greatergreener.org; for conference updates, connect with City Parks Alliance on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, using the hashtag #greatergreener; follow progress on the Toro Park Innovation Award with #ToroGives.
Greater & Greener conference support is provided by Landscape Structures, Inc., The Speedwell Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Toro Company, Urban Market Development, Atkins, Hyde Family Foundation, Knight Foundation, REI, Visit Denver, The Salazar Center for North American Conservation, Denver Arts and Venues, Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, Denver Water, Downtown Denver Partnership, ECI Site Construction, Gary Community Investments, Gates Family Foundation, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Greenfields Outdoor Fitness, Greenway Foundation/Colorado Parks Foundation, KOMPAN, William Penn Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, University of Colorado Denver, and Xcel Energy, among others.