Open Spaces & Greenway Connections
A community’s green and open spaces consist not only of farmlands, forests, fields, playgrounds, golf courses, baseball fields, pathways and trails, but also of school fields, front and backyards, downtown pocket parks and street trees, cemeteries, and streetscapes. Greenways connect open spaces together by creating corridors of natural habitat areas, combined with trails for active and passive recreational use. Greenways also serve as corridors for the movement of wildlife between habitat areas.
Keene is fortunate to have an extensive network of parks and open spaces for both active and passive activities and uses. Parks have played an integral role in Keene’s development. From Central Square to Ashuelot River Park to the historic Dinsmoor Woods and Ladies’ Wildwood Park, these areas help create a sense of identity and add to Keene’s quality of life, attracting businesses, visitors and residents.
With the proper design, open spaces and the greenway connections between them can provide an important opportunity for environmental stewardship and education. Parks and other green spaces are important to Keene’s sustainability and climate change efforts since they reduce the heat retained by buildings and pavement – the “urban heat island effect.” The vegetation in green spaces filters air, improving air quality, and provides crucial habitat for wildlife. Green spaces cleanse and infiltrate stormwater runoff; when integrated into the built environment, natural stormwater treatment systems are cost-effective solutions that assist in flood mitigation.
Throughout the planning process, discussions clearly articulated the community’s broad desire to increase physical connections to and among existing open spaces, neighborhoods, and the downtown core.