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How One Community is Thriving Thanks to Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted on December 27, 2021

ribbon cutting celebration at the bluecross healthy place park

With COVID-19 still plaguing the country, children find it hard to get active and safely socialize with friends. Only about 25% of children get the recommended daily activity, and this statistic has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After brainstorming ways to advocate for children in their local community, the corporate social responsibility department at the BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of Tennessee teamed up with the City of Chattanooga to open a new park: the BlueCross Healthy Place at Highland Park.

Planning the Park

Planning the park was not an easy task. The park's planning, design, and construction took more than a year to complete due to COVID-19. This five-acre park was possible by a $5 million-dollar investment by the BlueCross BlueShield Foundation of Tennessee.

To ensure people recognized the commitment of the Foundation to community health and wellness, we prepared a comprehensive branding plan. This included strategic locations to display the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation logo on surfacing, entry signs and more throughout the park.

Creating Active Spaces for the Community
The park includes two inclusive playgrounds, an obstacle course, and an outdoor fitness area for adults with aerobic, core, balance, and muscle strength training equipment. There are also tennis courts, basketball courts, and a multipurpose athletic field. Around the park's perimeter lies a .22-mile walking track for those who want to go for a walk or jog.

A Social Gathering Place

When it's time to rest from play, friends and family gather under the large, covered pavilion with picnic tables to socialize and eat.

Students from Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, Chattanooga Preparatory School, Montessori Elementary at Highland Park, and residents of the Highland Park neighborhood all share the park. The space is perfect for children to socialize with new friends they might not have otherwise met.

Promoting Inclusion and Equitable Play

Not only does this park bring children from all different schools together, but it also helps bridge inclusivity gaps through play and recreation.

The BlueCross Healthy Place helps people of all ages and abilities thrive. There are accessible play areas for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12. The play systems include both ramped access to higher decks and ground-level play activities that appeal to everyone.

The park uses  best practice research for inclusive playground design and is designated a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore. 

Outcomes and Results

Despite the barriers due to COVID-19, Chattanooga is still finding a way to help children get active and socialize. "We're so appreciative of this grant from the BlueCross Foundation and this new BlueCross Healthy Place," said Dr. Elaine Swafford, chief executive officer of CGLA. "The kids are excited, and the space will be great for bringing the community together."

Brad Scott, chief executive officer of Chattanooga Prep, echoed that sentiment. "This space is going to have a huge impact on our programming and our boys' lives," he said.

Make Your Mark With Impact Parks

Opening a park is an excellent idea for your corporate social responsibility efforts, especially considering the physical and social barriers because of COVID-19. These parks help children get active and socialize in an inclusive space that will help bring the community together for years to come. Contact an IMPACT representative today to learn how you advocate for those in your community during these trying times.

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