Safe and Equitable Park Access Expands Across Santa Fe!

Santa Fe, NM –  In January 2021, Santa Fe was one of seven municipalities nationwide to be awarded a Safe Routes to Parks grant. This grant is administered by the national Safe Routes Partnership and was awarded to Santa Fe’s Railyard Park Conservancy. The Safe Routes to Parks grant will aid in identifying connectivity solutions between parks, green spaces, neighborhoods, schools, and trails on Santa Fe’s south side.

Above Photo: “The Masters Program” students ride the River Trail

While the Conservancy provides community care for the downtown Railyard Park, the focus of this grant will be on the south side of Santa Fe – districts three and four. Through a robust partnership with Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization, Santa Fe Public School (SFPS) Sustainability Office, Santa Fe Conservation Trust, and Bike Santa Fe, this grant will engage residents in order to inform an action plan aimed at improving safe and equitable connectivity between parks and trails for south side communities.

“We have experience hosting Sand Play Saturday, Pop Up Playground, Graze Days, and other programs in the Railyard Park. We are thrilled to use our resources and experience in order to provide community engagement with other Santa Fe parks, too. We believe that equitable access to nature is paramount to the health and well-being of all Santa Feans. We aim to glean feedback and create an action plan that is informed by residents’ lived experiences and needs,” says Railyard Park Conservancy Executive Director, Shannon Palermo.

The Santa Fe Parks Department is already working with the Santa Fe Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Santa Fe Conservation Trust and the SFPS Sustainability Office to initiate the new Safe Routes to School Program. These partnering organizations will join resources with the Conservancy to create an optimal plan based on community engagement.

Above Photo: “The Master’s Program” students on Paseo del Sol bike lane

“We are excited to support increased connections between our schools and City parks,” said Elena Kayak, SFPS Sustainability Program Specialist. “Recently issued outdoor learning guidance from the New Mexico Public Education Department urges that our children learn outside more often, especially with concerns of physical distancing for educators and their students. Students have been studying how we collectively need to look at bicycling and walking to reduce our carbon footprint, and have fun doing it by getting to a park with our own energy.”

Above Photo: Tierra Contenta’s Arroyo de los Chamisos Trail, with Capital HS in the background

This grant will provide the Conservancy and collaborating partners with training, individualized consultation, technical assistance, and a grant of $12,500 to create a Safe Routes to Parks action plan.

What can we expect in the coming months?

  • Bike Month (May) events aimed at engaging the local community in feedback sessions
  • Outreach to community organizations serving south side neighborhoods and families
  • Youth leadership opportunities
  • Pop-up give-aways in south side parks and along trails
  • A pilot nature-based play program for a to-be-identified south side park

The Safe Routes to Parks project is committed to equity and the empowerment of residents to engage with decision making and action plans identified for their neighborhoods. The Railyard Park Conservancy and partner organizations are actively soliciting community collaboration with groups, individuals, and organizations that serve the south side of Santa Fe and encourage interested parties to reach out.

(Photos from Santa Fe Conservation Trust)

For More Information or to Connect with Safe Routes to Parks, Please Contact:
Shannon Palermo, Executive Director
Railyard Park Conservancy
(505) 316-3596
Kathryn York, Marketing Director
Railyard Park Conservancy
(505) 316-3596