Bridget Forster has lived in Huntland for nearly 40 years. Her daughter, Emily, was born with special needs, and Bridget hopes the BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park will provide a space for her to play and interact with other children.
“A lot of times, these kids are left out. There’s nothing for them to do,” Bridget says. “For the small town of Huntland, this is huge. She can be like a regular kid now.”
The BlueCross Healthy Place demonstrates a commitment to inclusion and connection , the same commitment community members displayed when they submitted their project proposal. For Bridget, that spirit is typical of her small town.
“Huntland has always been one huge family,” she says. “We stick by one another through thick and thin, and we make everyone feel included.”
Breaking ground together
Recently, Bridget and other Huntland residents joined representatives of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation to celebrate the groundbreaking of the BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park.
Community members initially sought funding for a new playground, but when complete, the BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park will also include a basketball court with bleachers, outdoor fitness equipment, an upgraded pavilion for community gatherings and a new walking track. The playground will be accessible for children of all abilities, and additional amenities in the space will include parking, water fountains, picnic tables and grills.
Scott Wilson, director of Community Relations and Health Foundation for BlueCross, says, “When we visited Huntland last November, we were impressed with how central this park is to the town. We saw the space, and we thought, ‘This could be more than a playground.’”
He adds, “We’re excited for work to begin on this project, and we hope all residents of the Huntland community will enjoy the space for years to come.”
“Our whole town has been excited,” says Huntland Vice Mayor Ann Gardner. “I’ve gotten so many texts and phone calls. Everyone wants to know when we’re starting.”
“We are so thankful to BlueCross,” Vice Mayor Gardner adds. “They’re giving us a playground for our children, a walking track and adult fitness areas. Everyone in the county is excited about our basketball court, and they can’t wait to play on it.”
Progress in the park
To learn more about the BlueCross Healthy Place at Huntland City Park and to see renderings of the new park elements, read Connecting Neighbors in Huntland.