House dwellers often ask me, “Wouldn’t you like to have a yard?”

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My Turner Park "Backyard"

Well, I do have a yard - Turner Park located just across the street. I consider that lush, green, impeccably-maintained-but-not-by-me park my yard. Of course, I have to share it with everybody in the city, but that’s a small price to pay for such a huge, lovely (maintenance-free-for-me) green space.

Turner Park is over 100 years old and has held its ground (Is that a pun? I’m not quite sure.) as the city has grown and changed around it. Sweethearts have been strolling through it for over 100 years. Kids have been running and giggling through it for over 100 years. Dog lovers have been walking their best friends though it for over 100 years. Families have been picnicking there for over 100 years.

That’s a lot of great memories.

The park’s creation is interesting history. From the Facebook group Forgotten Omaha, here's a brief history:

Mrs. Charlotte M. Turner donated thirty-two lots in blocks No. 1 and 2 Summit Place to be used for parks and a boulevard to the Omaha Board of Park Commissioners in 1897. This donation increased the prospects for the Central Boulevard, later called the West Central Boulevard - the connecting link between Hanscom and Bemis Parks. After the turn of the century, the land donated was developed as Curtiss Turner Park with the boulevard running along its eastern edge. The son of Charlotte and her husband Charles, a real estate developer, Curtiss Turner was a civil engineer who died in an 1898 avalanche in Alaska. After his death, the Turners requested that their land donation be used as a park to memorialize their son. Source: Planning Department of the City of Omaha. Omaha's Historic Park and Boulevard System.

And sure, there were some scrappy years for the park. Who among us hasn’t had a few scrappy years? Thanks to the Midtown Crossing development, the park is once again a lovely, safe green space for all to enjoy.

Flag at Turner Park

Flag at Turner Park

How about a picnic?

The great part about living here is that you can gather up some food from the fridge, walk across the street and boom! Instant picnic.

Flowers in Turner Park

Flowers in Turner Park

And if your fridge is running on empty, you’re a quick walk from several stores. Or pop into one of the fabulous local restaurants to get an order to go.

Or grab a blanket and a book and find a spot to relax and read. Bring your Hoola Hoop, your Frisbee, your boomerang. Play your ukulele. Compose a love haiku for your sweetie. Bring your sketchbook and draw a tree! Maybe getting up early to do 500 pushups is your style. (I got exhausted just typing that.) You can do it there. When you live here; the park is your yard.

No mowing/maintaining a lawn mower, fertilizing, weed pulling, aerating, battling moles, or high water bills. Sighhhh. All you gotta do is chill.

Honoring our World War I Heroes

I can’t write about the park without mentioning the memorial to those who served/lost their lives in World War I.

Turner Park Memorial

Turner Park Memorial

Though nestled near a busy intersection, it’s always a beautiful spot to stop, reflect and be thankful.

Turner Park Memorial

Lots of space here to play!

Check out the amazing events going on in the park including the beautiful Horses of Honor sculptures honoring fallen Omaha Police Officers.

See you in my yard!