The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has awarded the City of Johnson City a $750,000 grant to create a Community Hub at Kiwanis Park, one of 10 new BlueCross Healthy Places to be installed across the state in 2021.
BlueCross Healthy Places are parks with fitness elements and playgrounds intended to provide neighbors with locations that help them get to know one another, form new connections and enjoy healthy activity. Four locations are already open in Chapel Hill, Huntland, Kingsport, and Memphis with three others under construction in Chattanooga, Nashville and Knoxville.
“Our mission at BlueCross is serving our neighbors, and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our 75th anniversary than by giving Tennesseans more spaces to connect with one another and pursue healthy activities together,” said Roy Vaughn, executive director of the BlueCross Foundation. “We look forward to partnering with each of these communities to enhance and revitalize these spaces, providing new amenities for all residents to enjoy.”
The City of Johnson City’s Parks and Recreation Department applied for the grant in Fiscal Year 2020 and selected the Community Hub Project Package based on the needs of the community. This package includes a pavilion surrounded by fitness and play elements. It features two play systems, one designed for children ages 2-5 and the other intended for children ages 5-12, with accessible poured-in-place surfacing, a swing area, three outdoor fitness stations for cardio, balance and strength workouts, and a 20×24 pavilion with picnic tables and trash receptacles.
“The addition of the Community Hub at Kiwanis Park funded through the BCBS Healthy Places grant will provide our community members and visitors with an abundance of play opportunities in the downtown area,” said James Ellis, director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “The City’s commitment to improving our downtown and including new recreational opportunities for citizens and visitors in that vision is tremendous. Recent examples include the replacement of the Carver Recreation Center playground, the current construction of a recirculating splash pad for Carver Park as well as the natural adventure area playground at King Commons. The Johnson City parks department is proud to provide a variety of play and recreational opportunities for all ages.”
Construction on the BlueCross Healthy Places Community Hub Project is scheduled to begin next year and will be completed by the foundation’s build partner, Chattanooga-based PlayCore. For additional information about the BlueCross Healthy Place Program, see www.BlueCrossHealthyPlaces.com.