HUNTLAND, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Community members began enjoying the new BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park on Saturday, Sept. 14. Local elected officials and representatives of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee joined in the grand opening festivities, which kicked off at the park’s new basketball court.
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, hundreds of local residents explored the park’s new features, which in addition to the basketball court and bleachers, include an accessible playground and a walking track with outdoor fitness equipment. The pavilion has new tables and grills to enhance community gatherings, and the park now has more benches, water fountains and parking spaces.
Huntland Mayor Dolton Steele said, “I’m grateful to BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee for choosing Huntland for this project, and I’m especially thankful that the BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park will be an inclusive space for visitors of all abilities. The park will be an asset to the area and will give people a place to come together for community gatherings and recreation for generations to come.”
Vice Mayor Ann Gardner, who submitted the town’s grant application and was instrumental in the site’s being selected for funding, served as the emcee of Saturday’s celebration, which also included a performance from the Spirit of Huntland band, along with food, prizes and giveaways.
Franklin County Mayor David Alexander, state Senator Janice Bowling, Sheriff Tim Fuller, state Representative Iris Rudder and Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Director Michelle Earle were in attendance.
BlueCross Director of Community Relations Scott Wilson said, “Huntland is the perfect example of what we had hoped to accomplish with the BlueCross Healthy Place program. This project is much bigger than the sum of its parts; we’ve helped Huntland create an inclusive place for the town to come together and play, walk and socialize.”
The town initially requested $215,000 for an accessible playground, but the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation expanded the grant to $936,000, including $780,000 for the park’s construction and $156,000 for its maintenance and care.
Through the BlueCross Healthy Place program, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation funds spaces that provide opportunities for neighbors to connect, develop relationships and enjoy healthy activities.
The state’s first BlueCross Healthy Place opened in August at David Carnes Park in Memphis and was completed in partnership with the Whitehaven community. BlueCross Healthy Place projects are also underway in Chattanooga, Henry Horton State Park and Kingsport, Tenn.
About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation
The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation was established in December 2003 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s mission is to provide peace of mind through better health. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on serving more than 3.5 million members in Tennessee and across the country. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s website at www.bcbst.com.