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Great Parks help attract, retain and connect young professionals






Parks have long been a gathering place for families, neighbors and visitors to unwind and take advantage of the outdoors without driving far from home.

But Cincinnati's local parks aren't just geared toward kids and baby boomers. Whether you enjoy the challenge of a strenuous hike or prefer to sit quietly and watch the fireflies next to a campfire, there are countless activities at Cincinnati's local parks to help young professionals disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 
 
Great Parks of Hamilton County has preserved more than 16,600 acres of green space to provide outdoor recreation and education for area residents. There is an array of activities, ranging from horseback riding to geocaching to disc golf to kickball leagues, that just about anyone can take advantage of, particularly young professionals.
 
“Great Parks of Hamilton County’s 21 parks and preserves serve as an invaluable gathering space for our area’s young professionals,” says Kimberly Whitton, marketing communication coordinator. “From exercising on a trail to unwinding at a beer and wine tasting, to volunteering on a park improvement project, they just naturally seem to know how to take advantage of everything the parks have to offer.”

Recruiting Tool
 
Restoration efforts have made Cincinnati’s innovative park system more vibrant and allow them to serve many different uses. The shape and feel of a park is what makes it a neighborhood amenity, but the interactive programming is its meat and potatoes.
 
Patrick Newton, an associate attorney with Strauss & Troy, attributes much of his delight in moving back to Cincinnati to its dynamic parks and greenspaces.
 
“There are all kinds of hidden gems in Hamilton County, and [Great Parks] is a big portion of that,” Newton says. “I like that we have such a robust park system, and I’m really impressed with what they have to offer.”
 
Newton returned to Cincinnati for law school after receiving his undergraduate degree in Boston. An attorney by day, Newton also is the treasurer for Green Umbrella, a local organization that partners with individuals and organizations dedicated to environmental sustainability to improve the quality of life in the Cincinnati area.
 
Great Parks of Hamilton County allows space to stay active through activities like jogging and soccer, which are not only good for residents physically, but can also benefit overall health and mental wellness. “Outdoor recreation is an important part of healthy, happy Cincinnati,” Newton says. “It’s a simple way to get outside, enjoy yourself and take advantage of the platter of activities available.”

Networking Device
 
Cynthia Rose, a Detroit native who works in marketing at Kind Snacks, knew very little about the Queen City before she moved here from Louisville nearly four-and-a-half years ago. When her husband was offered a job here, she was quick to take advantage of what the park system had to offer.
 
“When I first came here, [going to the park] was a good way to meet people of all ages and walks of life,” Rose says. “They helped me get to know the city; I started getting introduced to and found a safe way to explore the parks.”
 
After she became comfortable with the routes, Rose began to branch off and venture on her own, exploring other places to go on a run.
 
Plenty of running routes and exciting activities like stand-up paddleboarding convinced Rose and her husband to make their stay officially permanent— they recently bought a house in Newport.
 
“I didn’t know anything about Cincinnati when I first moved here, and now I’m a big staycation fan,” Rose says. “I love being a tourist in my own city.”
 
Great Parks of Hamilton County not only offer a great way for people to participate in leisurely activities, but it also gives them a chance to breathe fresh air and experience the outdoors in a way that sitting on a back porch can’t provide.  
 
“You have your backyard or apartment balcony, but you’re not experiencing the whole package,” Rose says. “The parks are a treasure for Cincinnati and a great way to connect [with the outdoors].”
 
For a full list of activities, please visit Great Parks of Hamilton County’s website

Read more articles by Jayna Morris.

Jayna Morris is a contributing writer and editor for Soapbox. Learn more about her at www.jaynabarker.weebly.com.
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