Letter to the Editor: Newport Parks Offer Health Benefits Amid COVID

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The unfolding of the current coronavirus (COVID) pandemic, the worst global public health crisis in recently history, has caused unprecedented medical, social and economical upheaval across Orange County, as well as inflicted profound psychological pain on many individuals and families.

The rapid spread of this highly contagious disease has resulted in a host of mental health consequences.

The wide adoption of restrictive measures has inevitably resulted in psychological and financial costs that will have long-term psychological impacts.

The significance of Newport’s public parks has given both guests and residents promising means to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and has allowed for a healthy community environment, accessible to all citizens at no cost.

During these times, parks and recreation settings have influenced public health by improving moods, reducing perceived stress and enhancing a sense of wellness and are associated with the presence of enjoyable scenery.

Park facilities and services offer various opportunities to fulfill individual, social, economic and environmental benefits. These parks have been able to facilitate community cohesion and have played a larger role with “social capital” by providing a meeting place where people can maintain their “social-ties” while maintaining “social-distancing”.

On January 21, the Planning Commission, acting in the best interest of the public, postponed the 2510 PCH project; this project would have completely annihilated public views from several public parks in Newport Heights.

While the General Plan and Local Coastal Program protect our parks, bluffs and sensitive coastal resources, we need to make sure our elected officials protect these resources for generations to come.

We need to our elected officials to express to City Staff that poor transparency is bad for the entire project, from stakeholders, to the developer and to the surrounding communities. When transparency is integrated into the development process, it will yield better results; thus, leading to a better project.

At this time, the City Council should make certain that policy should err on the side of preservation by protecting our public parks, which should be considered the fundamental fabric to our health and well being.

Peggy V. Palmer / Newport Beach

 

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