The aged and well used playground equipment on hand at Mountain View Recreation Park, will soon be part of a major upgrade project thanks to the combined efforts of several separate local agencies as well as regional and state organizations.
The latest boost for the new playground equipment came this week when a $10,000 check was delivered to Paula Little, the chairperson of the now year-old Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition, the group responsible for getting the project off of the ground.
This week’s $10,000 boost to the playground project came through the collective efforts of Clinton County’s newest agency, the Clinton County Community Foundation, along with a matching grant from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.
The Clinton County Playground Activity Center project award from the Foundation in the amount of $5,000 is matched by local funds of $5,000, community fund-raising, and other donations.
In addition to the new playground equipment, the overall project also calls for a walkway needed to make the area accessible and rubber playground borders and rubber mulch required for safety.
The project for the playground equipment is directly in line with the goal of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition to reduce obesity rates by offering residents more opportunities for active play.
An earlier donation to the project was presented to the Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition by Lora Brewington during a recent meeting.
That donation, in the amount of $5,000, came from the agency Brewington works for, Cumberland Family Medical Center.
“We are happy to be involved in this collaborative project,” said Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Lack of physical activity and poor nutrition contribute to the high rates of childhood obesity in Clinton County. Childhood obesity in turn contributes to a number of serious health problems later in life so this project really aims to make our next generation healthier.”
Clinton County Healthy Hometown Coalition will oversee the project. “One of the biggest obstacles in our fight against childhood obesity is the lack of infrastructure and facilities that promote active living,” said Paula Little, Coalition Chairperson and Assistant Superintendent of Clinton County Schools. “This project addresses a dire need and will provide children and their families with a safe place to play. Additionally, during the school year, Clinton County Middle School can utilize the playground activity center during its daily activity period.”
The piece of playground equipment to be purchased is an “Activity Center” especially designed to encourage a variety of movements among children and is appropriate for ages 5-12.
As far as being able at this time to determine what the exact budget of the overall project will be, Little told the Clinton County News on Monday of this week that she couldn’t make that determination simply because additional funds continued to be raised.
“The park board has raised money and they are continuing to raise more money and there are other grants that are possible and are still being applied for,” Little said. “We are going to hopefully have the playground equipment installed by October of this year.”
Little acknowledged that the time frame might seem like a long time, but because funds were continuing to be raised and other grant announcements wouldn’t be made for several weeks, that was the best guess she could make.
She added that the new equipment being sought would best be described as an “activity center” where children go in and through different stations.
Little noted that while much of the playground equipment on the site now will remain, some of the older and more dilapidated equipment will be removed for safety concerns.
During a recent meeting of the Clinton County Healthy Foundation, Mountain View Park Director Bobby Reneau pointed out that some of the playground equipment on hand had been acquired after it had been removed from use at 76 Falls Country Club several years ago. Some of that equipment had originally been installed there in the late 1960s.
In terms of budget, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky grant funds require a “cash match” of local dollars. Cash match for the project will be $15,000. The newly-formed Clinton County Community Foundation, in its first action, will provide $5,000 toward the project. The remaining $10,000 will be provided through joint fund-raising efforts of the Clinton County Park Board and Healthy Hometown Coalition.
“We are pleased to be involved in this worthwhile project,” said Steve Morgan, Chairman of the Clinton County Community Foundation. “The playground improvement is a great symbol for how the entire community is coming together to promote children’s health.” The Clinton County Community Foundation, a newly-formed non-profit group under the umbrella of the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, supports projects that improve the overall quality of life in Clinton County.
All labor and installation for this project will be performed by the park director and volunteers from the park board, Healthy Hometown Coalition, and city and county government.
County government has agreed to provide the use of equipment, such as backhoes and forklifts, needed to complete the project.
Local media partners (radio, newspaper, and cable access) will keep the public informed on new park upgrades and policy changes.
“Working together, with consistent messages and local policies promoting healthy choices, we can insure our next generation grows up healthier than their parents,” concluded Zepeda.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is a non-profit philanthropic organization that invests in communities and informs health policy through grant making, research and education.
Since 2001, the Foundation has invested more than $24 million in health policy research and demonstration (pilot project) grants. The Foundation is committed to improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities and promoting health equity.
The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky chose Clinton County in early 2013 as one of only seven communities in Kentucky as a partner for its new Investing in Kentucky’s Future initiative.
Shortly after forming, the local group chose April Speck to be the Coordinator for the Foundation.
This week’s playground project fund delivery was the initial project chosen by the newly formed Clinton County Community Foundation..
In the early portion of 2014, working with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, a group of professional leaders from Albany and Clinton County came together to form the Clinton County Community Foundation.
Joining a trend that has been gaining ground across the nation, this effort is seeing community leaders and organizations changing their approach to improving the health of communities like Clinton County by working together to make positive changes.
The Clinton County Community Foundation, by working with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, is raising money to create an endowment that will be used to make grants for a host of projects that will benefit Albany and Clinton County now, as well as benefit future generations.
The Foundation encourages philanthropy and charitable giving by creating a vehicle that help donors give back to their communities and make a lasting impact.
To learn more about the concept behind a Community Foundation, please visit website for the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky at: www.appalachianky.org
The local Community Foundation advisory board is made up of seven members, including Steve Morgan (chairman), Keith McWhorter (vice-chairman), Al Gibson (Secretary-Treasurer), Kathleen Booher, Larry Conner, David M. Cross and Glenn Ray Smith.
Information about various ways to become involved with the Clinton County Community Foundation can be learned by contacting any of the above advisory board members.