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Editorial: Three new downtown parks will add to our quality of life

Published in the May 10 – 23, 2017 issue of Morgan Hill Life

From our downtown office we at Morgan Hill Life are enjoying seeing the transformation that’s now taking place in our city’s center. Building is set to begin or is well underway with the construction sites of the Granada Hotel, the former BookSmart shopping center, the four restaurants on Third Street and Monterey Road, the Barley Place homes on Depot Street, the current pop-up park next to Betto’s Bistro and the former Sunsweet site next to the parking garage. But adding to the quality of life for our city are the several public parks now being built in the downtown.

The city of Morgan Hill recently broke ground on several of these community parks. Construction began on Little Llagas Creek Trail, located west of the Third Street and Monterey Road intersection behind Ladera Grill.

The Depot Park along Depot Street between Third and Fourth streets is well underway with the former parking lot next to the train tracks jack-hammered and carted away. And the Hill Top Trail, connecting Third and Fifth streets at Del Monte Avenue will give locals a hearty physical workout and an amazing view of our city from the top of Nob Hill. It’s wonderful to see the development of these three parks which will enhance the experience for residents and visitors coming into the downtown area. It will encourage people to be physically active and heart-healthy, and the Depot Park playground with its railroad theme will add another family-friendly component to our downtown.
Mayor Steve Tate told us that he feels proud to make beautiful parks and trails accessible to our residents and encourages everyone to use them here and throughout South Valley.

“The city invests in parks and trails for their many economic, health, environmental and quality of life benefits,” he said in an email he recently sent us. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, providing places residents can be physically active can improve both physical and mental health. Chronic disease sufferers can greatly benefit from walking on local trails and spending time at our parks. Being outdoors can increase vitamin D levels, decrease blood sugar levels for diabetes, and reduce feelings of depression, thereby improving mental health. Parks and trails function as a hub for community members to meet for social events and recreational activities resulting in increased social cohesion strengthening our community.”

We are blessed to have so many great parks in our neighborhoods as well as throughout the region — including county parks and the awesome Henry W. Coe State Park a half hour’s drive from downtown Morgan Hill. And we encourage every one of our readers to take advantage of the opportunity to get outside during these warm spring days and visit these parks with friends and family.

The city of Morgan Hill has partnered with Santa Clara County Public Health, the city of Gilroy, Santa Clara County Parks, the South County Collaborative and the South County United for Health Leadership Team to coordinate a “Let’s All Go to the Park” project to promote parks and trails as a destination for physical activity and meeting other members of the community. Five free events have been planned in South Valley geared to all fitness levels, Mayor Tate told us, and he hopes everyone will participate and have fun together as they discover these gateways into nature.

The first event will be a walk or bike ride along Little Llagas Creek starting 10 a.m. May 13 at the east side of the Centennial Recreation Center. Join Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Morgan Hill Unified School District Superintendent Steve Betando and Tate for a walk or bike ride on the Little Llagas Creek Trail.

Taking steps toward better health as a community can begin by visiting our parks and enjoying fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Get out and discover one of these places soon.

UPCOMING FREE PUBLIC EVENTS AT LOCAL PARKS

What: Walk, run or bike
When: 10 a.m. to noon, May 13
Where: Little Llagas Creek Trail, Morgan Hill. Meet at the CRC, 171 W. Edmundson Ave.
What: ‘Summer Fun in the Park’
When: 6 to 8 p.m., June 29
Where: Galvan Park, 17666 Crest Ave.
What: Walk and learn about Native American history
When: 9 to 10:30 a.m., July 15
Where: Coyote Creek Parkway, 19245 Malaguerra Ave.
What: ‘Party in the Park’
When: 6 to 8:30 p.m., Aug. 11
Where: San Ysidro Park, 7700 Murray Ave.
What: Walk, run or bike
When: 10 a.m. to noon, Sept. 9
Where: Gilroy Levee; meet at Gilroy Sports Park, 5925 Monterey Frontage Road

For more information: www.sccgov.org/sites/parks/Pages/Welcome-to-Santa-Clara-County-Parks.aspx