Parks have been providing lung space for residents of crowded localities in Chennai

In a congested city like Chennai, a whiff of fresh air is something that residents long for. Parks have been providing that much-needed lung space for residents of crowded localities, and many of them have turned into weekend hangouts for families.

Several parks across the city have been drawing huge crowds – both young and old — during weekends. It is at parks that children get a chance to run around and play, say parents while they sit on the benches or lawns and keep an eye on them. Equipment such as sliding boards, swings and see-saws are a big hit among children.

Some of the popular parks in the city include Nageswara Rao park, Mylapore; Natesan park, T. Nagar; May Day park, Chintadripet, Semmozhi Poonga on Cathedral Road; Anna Nagar Tower park and Bougainvillea park in Anna Nagar; Independence Day park at Valluvar Kottam and Gill Nagar park in Choolaimedu.

Residents of congested north Chennai areas such as Perambur and Tiruvottiyur say that the parks in these areas offer the space that they have longed for several years. Nithya Shree, a resident of Madhavaram, visits the Murasoli Maran Park near the Perambur flyover with her husband and children on Sunday evenings.

“Our residential area does not have space for children to play. Also, people prefer to keep their children indoors and not allow them with play with friends. So, bringing them here is such a refreshing experience,” she says.

No week is complete without a visit to the park at Balaji Nagar for S. Prince Arockia Doss, a resident of Selaiyur. “The park was established three years ago, and serves as a place for us to relax. There is a lot of greenery and it is maintained well. Several youngsters come to play badminton,” he says.

M. Geethalakshmi, a resident of Chintadripet, brings her young relatives and friends to the park on Gandhi-Irwin Road, Egmore. “My cousins have come home for the holidays, and I think parks are the best place to hang out,” she says.

The crowd at parks has drawn small-time traders, many of whom sell snacks and toys outside. Some parks have a music system in place. Many visitors say that authorities should ensure that parks are well-maintained.