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Knoxville Breaks Ground on BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park

$5.5 million investment will add new amenities to popular community space

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Representatives from the City of Knoxville and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation recently broke ground on the BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park in East Knoxville.

The 36-acre park, located adjacent to downtown, is surrounded by university and multi-family apartments, as well as a high-rise community for seniors, including those with disabilities. Two elementary schools are also within walking distance. The park sits on a city bus line, making it easily accessible to visitors from other areas of the city.

BlueCross Healthy Places are designed to strengthen communities across Tennessee by providing neighbors with spaces for connection and healthy activity.

The BlueCross Foundation is providing $4.6 million for the project build and an additional $920,000 for a maintenance fund, bringing the total investment to $5,520,000.

“Morningside Park is one of the largest parks in Knoxville, and we’re hopeful with these much-needed upgrades, more people will be able to enjoy this tree-lined treasure near downtown,” said Sheryl Ely, parks and recreation director for the City of Knoxville. “New playground and fitness equipment will add something for people of all ages to enjoy, and the addition of restrooms will make it a great space for local neighborhood groups to gather. We are excited and appreciative of the grant from the BlueCross Foundation for helping to make this all possible.”

The City of Knoxville applied for the BlueCross Healthy Place grant with assistance from the Legacy Parks Foundation. Knoxville-based landscape architecture firm Ross/Fowler created conceptual designs of the space for the submission.

Features in the new space will include:

  • Multipurpose field with bleachers
  • Playgrounds for children ages 2-5 and 5-12
  • Challenge course
  • 40-yard dash
  • Fitness area
  • Walking trail
  • Community pavilion

Play areas and challenge courses will be constructed with accessible poured-in-place surfacing for visitors of all abilities.

To date, the BlueCross Foundation has invested $34.8 million in BlueCross Healthy Place projects across the state. There are 16 projects open statewide with more on the way.

The BlueCross Foundation is accepting proposals for 2023 funding throughout the month of August 2022.

For more on the BlueCross Healthy Place program, see

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About BlueCross®
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.3 million members in Tennessee and around the country. The Chattanooga-based company was founded in 1945 and has brought peace of mind to its members and local communities for more than 75 years. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company’s news center at

About BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation organized to promote the philanthropic mission of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee. It has awarded $120 million in grants since 2005. The foundation provides funding for the BlueCross Healthy Place program, which creates active, healthy spaces across Tennessee.

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