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Study: Three-quarters of Roswell’s residents live near a park

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Lily pads in the desert. This serene water feature at Cahoon Park is just one of the amenities to enjoy at one of Roswell’s 35 parks. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)

For nearly three-quarters of Roswell’s residents, it doesn’t take more than a 10-minute walk to go for a “walk in the park.”

According to a recent study by the Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to “create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come,” 36,131 of Roswell’s residents, or 72 percent, can put on their sneakers and walk to the nearest park in 10 minutes or less.

The national average is 54 percent. For New Mexico’s most populated city, Albuquerque, the number is an impressive 86 percent.

There are 35 parks in Roswell with a total acreage of 379. That’s equal to 287 football fields, according to the study.

Because Roswell has so many parks within walking distance, there’s little excuse for kids to sit around all day watching TV or fiddling with their smartphones. Children’s use of neighborhood parks increases by 400 percent when parks are closer to home, according to the study.

And for adults trying to take off a few pounds or stay in the same pants size, this is all good news. Across all age groups, greater access to parks is associated with lower body mass index and reduced risk of obesity.

In Artesia, 72 percent of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

Roswell’s mountain neighbor, Ruidoso, didn’t fair so well in the study, coming in 12 points below the national average at 42 percent.

The accessibility of city parks in the Alien City seems fairly even regardless of your age, income level, ethnicity or race.

For children, the percentage is 76. Adults chime in at 74 percent and the number is 71 percent for seniors.

For all ethnicities and races, including Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Native American, Asian and two or more races, the percentages range from 73 to 84 percent.

You don’t have to be wealthy to live near a park in Roswell. For those ranked in the low-income category, the percentage is 74 percent. For middle income it is 73 percent and high income it is 72 percent.

So coach potatoes take note: As long as you can get outdoors before the heat becomes oppressive, there’s little excuse not to enjoy Roswell’s beautiful and diverse parks.

For more information, visit parkserve.tpl.org.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.