Just over a year ago this month, I had the honor of being appointed by Mayor Tammy to serve you on the Meridian Parks and Recreation Commission. My first commission meeting was our Parks and Pathways tour, and with the success of our 2019 Parks and Pathways tour this week, I can confidently say that not only is the state of our Meridian Parks and Recreation areas strong, but our parks are the premier parks in the Treasure Valley if not more.

When Mayor Tammy first took office in 2004/05, Meridian could count its parks and recreation areas on two hands, with a grand total of 8. Now, our community, much larger than it was over a decade ago, is able to proudly boast a solid 24 parks and recreation areas, our newest being our new regional park, Discovery Park in South Meridian.

Each park and recreation area is unique in its own way, adding an important variable to the city we have come to know as the greatest home. From the Kleiner Park Community Co-Op Garden - whose positive environmental and charitable impacts have not only helped countless of our community members in need, but have reinforced our dedication and commitment to the good stewardship of our environment and cultivation of the agricultural traditions of our great state - to Tulley, Fuller, Storey, and Storey Bark Park (to name a few) who provide our children and pets with fun and safe places to have fun and be outdoors, and to our newest Discovery Park, which as it continues to grow, will serve as a top destination for families throughout our community to unplug, be outside, and reconnect with one another.

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The long term vision and success of each can be credited to the incredible leadership team at City Hall. Beginning with Mayor Tammy, whose prior experience on the Parks and Rec Commission and city council would be a driving force to establish a grander vision for the future of a growing city at the heart of our valley, and it is strengthened and carried out by an incredible team comprised of some of the most experienced and dedicated department staff and leadership a city could have. Each member of the Parks and Recreation Department team, the hardworking maintenance team, my fellow commissioners, in cooperation with additional members of city and valley leadership have within them a genuine passion, education, care, and drive for the betterment of the overall quality of life of our fellow citizens here in Meridian, and use those strengths to ensure our parks and recreation areas are everything our community could want and need and more!

We have so much ahead of us still in the remaining months of 2019, and I can say I am thankful for everyone who contributes in their own way to making Meridian the greatest home!

Editor's note: This guest opinion was edited upon the author's request on Sept. 12. 

Dom Gelsomino is the vice president of the Meridian Parks and Recreation Commission.

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