Building for the Future

As 2016 comes to an end, it gives us time to reflect on accomplishments while also setting goals for the New Year.  According to research from statistic brain only 45% of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and only 8% achieve success.  The top resolution is to lose weight, but who didn’t already know that.

built-environmentFor me I wanted to do something for others so when I got involved with the Atlanta BeltLine project 6 years ago my goal was to create programs to engage the businesses and families in Atlanta with healthy behaviors. The BeltLine is a project that is truly helping build a more active Atlanta.


It is also having a significant impact on the local economy with new business and residential communities popping up.

Today we are seeing similar projects in other communities, creating new trails and parks, as it is a goal toward improving community health while driving economic impact.  As the CDC continues to report we live in a fat nation, our healthcare is going through rapid changes to a value based care model which will rely heavily on improvements to ones community to be successful.  We need easier access to care, safer communities to walk and programs to not only get active with but grow our social network – support.macon

On a recent visit to Macon Georgia I got a chance to meet with Dominique Lewis, Recreation Programmer, with the Macon-Bibb Parks and Recreation Department.  She told
me how they are building for the future with all the great work going on.

Central City Park recently got some much needed funding from SPLOST where they are improving the existing park by adding more walking trails a Skate Park and educational pad.

Home to Macon’s historic Luther Williams Field, the heart of Cherry Blossom Festival events, and the original home of the Georgia State Fair, Central City Park was Macon’s first public park. Still Macon’s largest park, stretching along the levee at the southernmost end of Ocmulgee Heritage Trail, the level terrain makes Central City Park ideal for hosting central-citytournaments, festivals and special events. The beautiful natural setting features playground areas for children, picnic areas large enough to accommodate group outings, and a gazebo for perfect “photo ops.”


Dominique stated, “Our initial focus on development was a result of a culmination of feedback and surveys from the community on what they wanted to see.  We also spoke with other City Parks on the improvements they made.  We noticed our parks were behind the times and we wanted to compete with other parks.  We wanted to update our facilities for our residents where they could come and play.”

“We are going to use metrics to track attendance and facilities frequented,” Dominique stated.  “When we do recreation programs we do community surveys to see if we should continue with those programs as we are focusing more on community engagement.”

I then went on to ask Dominique how she got involved with Parks and Recreation, Dominique stated, “I grew up on a military installation, but I didn’t really look at Parks and Recreation as a profession.  When I was in school I changed my profession to Sociology and started working with Non-Profits.  I kind of fell into Parks and Recreation and I fell in love as I get to work on planning programs for the community and working closely with families.”

reading-rocksI went on to ask Dominique about her favorite activity, Dominique stated, “I love reading rocks, as it’s a program that encourages people to read.  We had the Mayor and Radio Station at past events.  I also love summer camp as we see about 700 kids.”

Dominique went on to say, “Personally I love to dance and I am big into DIY projects.  I have a one and three year older that keep me busy with such projects and I certainly like to practice what I preach.”


Thanks to Dominique for everything she does in creating more engagement for families which ultimately leads to a healthier community.

As we set personal goals for the New Year I feel it’s important for our communities to set goals and to further engage the businesses and families in ones community.  It takes a community approach to partnerships that will truly create a safe active community that will help move the unhealthy needle in our nation.

May you and your family enjoy a successful new year and may your community foster new innovative approaches to engage with you!!

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