Our parks system is a perk

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the beautiful parks we have here in Cassville. When asked what makes Cassville attractive to residents and visitors alike, I immediately think of the city's parks system, which includes a Greenway Trail that connects two parks that are now bustling with activity. These parks include playground equipment, tennis courts, picnic tables, horseshoe pits, basketball courts and ballfields.

Part of my regular exercise routine includes walk/runs on the Greenway Trail, which now stretches over three miles from Rocky Edmondson Park to the city's South Park. Right now the trail, espcially the gravel part of it, needs a little work due to flooding and downed trees, but even with the obstacles, it's still a well used path. Those enjoying the Greenway include the hard core runner, families out for an evening stroll and kids riding their bikes up and down the path that winds along the always beautiful Flat Creek.

With the summer ball season in full swing, the fields at both city parks are usually in use. Kids of all ages are engaged in summer's favorite pastime and the bleachers located alongside each field are usually full of parents and grandparents cheering on their young ball players.

The Cassville Family Aquatic Center also offers a delightful way to spend a hot, summer afternoon. If you've never visited the facility, you're sure to be impressed. In addition to open swim in the afternoons, the center also offers swim lessons, water aerobics and lap swim times. The staff at the aquatic park is friendly and professional, and it's a wonderful place for area youth to gather and soak up the sun on a lazy summer afternoon.

If you want to discover a great vantage point for witnessing the joys of summer in a small town, walk, drive or jog to the top of the hill at Oak Hill Cemetery and gaze at the town below. You will be treated to the screams and shouts of kids playing baseball and shooting hoops and the clang of horseshoes hitting the scoring posts. From time to time, I walk to the top of that hill, breathe in the smells of summer and thank God for all that is good about small-town living.

We appreciate city leaders, past and present, who played a role in making sure Cassville has a first-rate parks system. Cassville's investment in a Greenway Trail, an aquatic park and two parks with plenty of space for softball, baseball and soccer fields is an investment in children and families. In addition, the YMCA-sponsored parks and recreation program, combined with a great workout facility, provides area residents of all ages with a range of activities that promote health and wellness. We also know that recreational offerings are a big draw to individuals seeking to relocate to a new town, and the city's growing parks system is another reason for people to call Cassville home.

Lisa Schlichtman