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Parks Are Changing, But Ever-Popular

Readers' Choice: Piper Park and Hal Brown Park top the list in the Twin Cities.

A park is much more than a field of grass or a sandbox and, in Larkspur, leaders are wrestling with the question: Just what is a park?

The City of Larkspur is due to receive a 2.58-acre parcel of land, part of which must be used as parkland, but there is no hard and fast definition of what that includes.

Parks aren't just grass, trees and swing sets anymore. They might include plazas, water features, cricket pitches, gardens and farms.

"In general, I think a park should be considered an enjoyable, relaxing, and even invigorating place to escape from the monotony and pollution of modern life. A place where our children can safely play," Popo answered when we asked readers what you'd like to see in a park. "Open spaces devoid of fences, walking paths, picnic areas, playgrounds, sports fields, and of course green grass are all important amenities for a classic park, but depend on park size and location."

Piper Park in Larkspur and Hal Brown Park in Greenbrae won as the two most popular neighborhood parks in the Twin Cities area. Dolliver Park and Corte Madera Town Park also received support.

Piper Park is certainly one of the most active recereation spces around, with softball fields, soccer fields, space for cricket and volleyball, a walking path, tennis courts and a children's play area. The Easter Bunny hid colored eggs in the grass near the surrounding wetlands during the holiday celebration last month.

"Piper Park is so relaxing that falling asleep on the grass under a tree along the water after a BBQ or sports match is just too easy. But even tiny Bon Air Landing Park is a nice place for a cozy picnic along the water facing Mount Tam," Popo worte. "Having spent much time in all of our parks listed, I find it difficult to choose just one favorite, each having its own list of amenities."

Hal Brown Park is newer, but its children's play area is already a major hit with families. Residents also enjoy a creekside walk along the park, with views of fog cresting over the mountain and geese cruising over the water. It's an uplifting view for patients and visitors across the street at Marin General Hospital.

Here were the choices:

Hal Brown Park at Creekside
Neighborhood Park
Piper Park
Dolliver Park
Heatherwood Park
Bon Air Landing Park
Greenbrae School Park
Hamilton Park
Magnolia Avenue Park
Niven Park
Remillard Park
Corte Madera Town Park
San Clemente Park
Menke Park

As leaders plan parks in the future, they are being asked to take into account an active senior population and an influx of younger familes. They are also being asked to redefine what a park means to the community.

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