$720,000 investment will create inclusive playground, highlight diverse ecosystem of region
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation will develop its next BlueCross Healthy Place project at Henry Horton State Park, located south of Murfreesboro and Franklin.
The foundation’s $720,000 investment includes $600,000 for the construction of an educational, inclusive playground for visitors of all abilities and $120,000 to be set aside in a growth fund for the facility’s maintenance and care.
Scott Wilson, BlueCross director of community relations, said, “We’re excited about this partnership with Tennessee State Parks. Tennesseans love their park system and we are proud to work with the state to enhance an already beautiful park experience at Henry Horton.”
The completed playground will have two specially designed areas for children ages 2-5 and 5-12, and it will include accessible features for people with mobility challenges. It will feature ramp access, ground-level play, front reach capability and a soft rubber safety surface. The area surrounding the playground will be dotted with play pockets to encourage physical activity, along with educational signage.
“Our staff is truly excited about this project,” Park Manager Ryan Jenkins said. “Building a fully accessible, educational playground has been a part of our vision for at least six years. Now, with the help of the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation, we will see it become reality. This playground will be one of the highlights of our community, allowing children of all abilities to experience healthy play and to learn more about the historic Duck River.”
The park is comprised of land surrounding the Duck River, which is considered home to the greatest variety of freshwater animals in North America. Its ecosystem includes 151 species of fish, 60 species of freshwater mussels and 22 species of aquatic snails. The park has a trail system, golf course and campgrounds that collectively welcome around 700,000 visitors each year.
The BlueCross Healthy Place program provides spaces for neighbors to connect and enjoy healthy activities, improving the overall wellbeing of Tennesseans. The first BlueCross Healthy Place opened in August at David Carnes Park in Memphis, and another is set to open on September 14 at Huntland City Park. An additional project is underway at the Miracle League Complex in Kingsport.
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.