WHO WE ARE
Friends of Belfast Parks is a membership-driven, volunteer-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, continued improvement, and respectful use of our local parks and greenspaces.
Membership is open to anyone who has an interest in our local parks and a desire to help protect and improve them for future generations. We heartily welcome new members and hope you will consider becoming a member. The annual membership fee is quite nominal, but the rewards are immense!
So join today, bring your energy and ideas, and make a difference! Just complete the membership form under the “Get Involved” section and mail it to the address listed.
Friends of Belfast Parks works to increase public awareness about the inherent value of parks; promote community use and respect for the facilities; involve youth in projects to extent possible; and support the efforts of the Belfast Parks and Recreation Department with special projects and fundraising as needed.
Why We do What We do
It’s simple! Parks and green spaces are vitally important
to a community because they:
Embody the American tradition of preserving public lands for the benefit of all citizens
Offer opportunities to be physically active, reduce stress, enhance personal wellness, and re-connect to nature
Have facilities for organized, structured, enjoyable activities for people of all ages
Encourage critical social interactions for maintaining community cohesion
Provide protected critical habitat and corridors for indigenous and migratory wildlife
Provide floodplain protection, groundwater recharge areas, natural sound barriers, and vegetative buffers
Help lower temperatures and mitigate other negative effects of climate change
Increase the overall community tax base, as properties closer to parks are assessed at a significantly higher value
Are economic engines that improve quality of life and make community a more desirable place to live
Adapted from “Top 10 Reasons Parks Are Important,” by R.J. Dolesh, M. Hobbs Vinluan,
M. Phillips, National Recreation and Park Association
FOBP was established in 1996 by a small group of citizens who were concerned about the state of disrepair and deteriorating conditions in the local park spaces. At that time the city had one park of any size (Belfast City Park) and four smaller parks (Heritage Park, Wales Park, Kirby Lake, and Eleanor Crawford Park) but no parks department or staff. Groundskeeping and facility maintenance were performed by Public Works Department crews on a minimal “as needed” basis, under the direction of an Assistant City Manager. A volunteer Parks and Recreation Commission served to advise city officials as to the custody, care and management of the parks and facilities.
Largely due to the advocacy and persistence of the FOBP membership, in 2004 the city established a Parks and Recreation Department and hired its first full-time Director to manage the park system. Money was budgeted for seasonal groundskeeping staff to maintain the park areas. Since then, the Belfast municipal park system has grown exponentially. Today the city has fourteen parks; a system of walking paths and trails; an arboretum; and an indoor facility that can be used for recreational activities, public meetings and private functions.
FOBP OFFICERS 2023
President Sara Bridwell
Vice President Kathy Muzzy
Secretary Debbie Hockensmith
Treasurer Lise Leigh