A new playground in Kiwanis Park funded by a grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation will provide local kids a much-needed place to play in central Johnson City.
“This is another great example of Johnson City promoting fun, play, exercise and quality of life for our residents,” Commissioner John Hunter said during a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday.
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation invested a total of $750,000 int the project, which according to the organization includes $650,000 for the installation itself and $100,000 for maintenance.
Features include a swing set, play areas for children ages 2 to 12, a community pavilion and fitness stations.
Johnson City applied for a BlueCross Healthy Place grant to fund the project. BlueCross said the playground is one of 10 the foundation has funded in celebration of the company’s 75th anniversary, bringing its total statewide investment to $7.5 million in 2021.
Johnson City Manager Pete Peterson said Kiwanis Park, at 717 W. Market St., is one of the city’s oldest parks and also one of the most used.
“We’re very proud and privileged to be the recipient of a grant to develop this play station that will not only accommodate young folks but as well as our senior citizens and everybody in between,” he said. “There’s something here for everybody.”
In the next few months, Peterson said, the city plans to build a new pavilion at the park with new restrooms. In the spring, the city will rebuild nearby roads and sidewalks.
“This is the first step of multiple investments in this park facility and the surrounding areas,” he said. “We’re just delighted to be able to partner with BlueCross BlueShield and to work with them to promote healthy living and a healthy lifestyle.”
Keith King, the manager of the BlueCross Healthy Place program, said he could truly see the vision that officials had for Kiwanis Park after reading their application.
“That vision was one of a multi-generational space where people could come together to play, where grandparents could bring their grandkids, where students to could come after school,” King said. “That is exactly the same vision we have with our BlueCross Healthy Place program.”