McGill Celebrates Park and Recreation Month

July 11, 2022

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has declared the month of July to be Park and Recreation Month. Here at McGill, we are extremely proud of the work that our land planning and recreation team puts in all throughout the year to shape communities and provide them with unique and accessible spaces to flourish in.

Jim ford 2019
Jim Ford

McGill Planner Jim Ford said, “On a personal level, I feel as though I want to make the world a better place and influence the lives of other people in a positive manner. To me, parks and recreation is an opportunity where people are trying to better themselves through exercise and being outdoors and also utilizing the time they have on this earth as wisely as possible — and that means enjoying themselves, socializing with friends, and spending quality time with family. Being allowed to impact the design of parks, planning for what goes on in parks, and talking to people about how to make parks in their community better places to do all of those things that I mentioned, is very rewarding to me.”


Picture4The theme of this year’s Park and Recreation Month is We Rise Up for Parks and Recreation. When it comes to equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being, McGill is always delighted to bring attention to our parks and recreation professionals who are continuously rising up for communities around the Southeast.

“Because it is a call to know who the communities are and to represent them in a way that is well-rounded and not one-sided, the theme of We Rise Up particularly resonated with me,” noted Jim. “We are in the business of shaping communities that can withstand adversity, and as we progress toward greater specialization, we must not lose sight of the people that we are serving. We make it a top priority to gain an understanding of the day-to-day challenges and aspirations of each and every individual who will be using the spaces that we design, enhance, or construct.”


Hky land planning team ford norris 1 h glenn hilton park 05 2019The land planning and recreation team at McGill, which has won a number of awards, is noted for its ability to envision and create areas that combine constructed and natural surroundings in a way that is cohesive. From urban and public spaces, commercial centers, school sites, and streetscapes — to bike lanes, athletic fields, sidewalks, and greenway trails — our team ensures that we are providing design solutions that are inclusive, environmentally responsible, and maintain a harmonious balance between natural and built spaces. Several organizations, such as the North Carolina American Society of Landscape Architects and the North Carolina Main Street Center, have singled us out for particular distinction.

“Though we have such a broad team, of all different ages and experience levels, we are extremely tight knit, which makes it easy for us to communicate effectively and share our personal opinions and ideas,” explained Jim. “At McGill, we are catering to not just school age children, professionals, parents, and seniors, but we seek to provide educational, activity, and leisure opportunities through programming that really reflect the demographics and the desires of each unique community. For example, at the coast they don’t have a lot of land, so they are more often interested in things like having places for concerts, and things like art in the park and seashell hunts, whereas on the western side of North Carolina, there is more of an emphasis on active recreation such as rock climbing and nature trails.”


Parks and recreationMcGill believes that everyone should have access to the health, environmental, social, and economic benefits that come with initiatives involving parks and recreation.

“Passive recreation, educational displays, greenways, open spaces, programs involving fitness, and those kinds of things that we like to see parks provide are so important and making them accessible to everyone regardless of whether or not they can afford a gym or country club membership, is what makes parks and recreation a means of equitable access to opportunities that people deserve,” said Jim.

“This world and life can be challenging at times, and the advent of parks and recreation is, on really grand scale, this opportunity to really improve our quality of life. Parks and recreation is one of those things where the whole point is just to provide spaces that allow us to be better and have more enriched experiences in the places that we live and visit and being a part of that every day is a great honor.”


You can learn more about how our land planning and recreation team at McGill is rising to the challenge of making communities better through parks and recreation initiatives by clicking here. You can also reach out to our Director of Land Planning and Recreation at mike.norris@mcgillassociates.com to see how we can assist you and your community in getting your next project off the ground.

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