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BlueCross foundation to help fund new equipment at St. Elmo park


After serving to to fund the revamp of Miller Park in downtown Chattanooga and a brand new playground and faculty recreation discipline in Highland Park over the previous 4 years, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Basis will assist add extra train and playground tools on the St. Elmo park in 2021.

The Chattanooga-based well being insurer mentioned it’s marking its seventy fifth yr by donating $7.5 million to reinforce wholesome locations at parks throughout Tennessee, together with $750,000 for health and enjoyable enhancements to the town park in St. Elmo. Development on the tasks is scheduled to start subsequent yr and will likely be accomplished by the inspiration’s construct accomplice, Chattanooga-based PlayCore.

“Our mission at BlueCross is serving our neighbors, and we could not consider a greater approach to have a good time our seventy fifth anniversary than by giving Tennesseans extra areas to attach with each other and pursue wholesome actions collectively,” Roy Vaughn, government director of the BlueCross Basis, mentioned in an announcement of the park funding. “We sit up for partnering with every of those communities to reinforce and revitalize these areas, offering new facilities for all residents to take pleasure in.”

In 2019, the BlueCross Basis helped to launch a nearly $5 million park in Highland Park close to the Chattanooga Women Preparatory College and its accomplice college, the all-boys constitution college Chattanooga Preparatory College. Spanning practically two blocks between Hawthorne Road and South Orchard Knob Avenue, the Highland Park advanced will embrace inclusive playgrounds, a soccer discipline, a basketball and tennis courtroom, amongst different facilities when it opens in early 2021.

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Picture by Dave Flessner / Staff set up new playground tools and the brand new park taking form in Highland Park, one of many recipients of funding for wholesome locations by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Basis.

The enhancements deliberate subsequent yr on the St. Elmo Park at 4909 St. Elmo Avenue will embrace a health station, a problem course, kids’s play areas for each preschool and elementary-age kids, and a group garden.

The Metropolis of Chattanooga utilized for the BlueCross Wholesome Place grant, noting in its enchantment to BlueCross that “whereas the present playground is effectively liked, it has additionally been effectively used, and the years of wear and tear and tear have had antagonistic results on the tools.”

“The park must be reimagined — two new play areas and a health zone will profit residents younger and outdated by enhancing the person expertise and decreasing upkeep prices,” Chattanooga planners mentioned within the utility for the BlueCross basis assist.

The St. Elmo park improve is considered one of 10 deliberate in municipal and county parks throughout Tennessee in 2021 with funding from the inspiration created by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the state’s greatest well being insurer.

The park tasks are designed to assist the well being of those that train, play video games and in any other case use the park amenities, officers mentioned. Among the upgrades will embrace pavilions as a group hub, whereas others will characteristic playground tools for kids and a few will embrace train units for adults.

BlueCross Vice President Scott Wilson mentioned the park upgrades are also serving to the well being of native communities across the park.

In Memphis the place BlueCross pumped in $5.4 million to renovate the David Carnes Park in its first Wholesome Place venture in 2018, house values within the neighborhood have elevated for the reason that park opening, Wilson mentioned.

“Thriving communities are inclined to have locations the place individuals can collect and the place they will get out and train,” Wilson mentioned. “In Memphis, there have been individuals who have moved into the neighborhood as a result of the David Carnes Park has had such an affect. It is actually affecting house costs.”

Separate from the Wholesome Locations grants, the Blue Cross Basis additionally helped to fund $1 million of the $10.3 million revamp of Miller Park, which was accomplished in 2018 to assist in protecting Chattanooga’s downtown as an leisure and assembly place for your complete area.

With the addition of the ten new tasks for 2021, the BlueCross Basis has invested $31.7 million in group areas throughout the state.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340



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