$5.5 million investment adds new amenities to popular community space
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Representatives from the City of Knoxville and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation celebrated the grand opening of the BlueCross Healthy Place at Morningside Park in East Knoxville on Thursday, Dec. 14.
The 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 provided $4.6 million for the project build and an additional $920,000 for a maintenance fund, bringing the total investment to $5,520,000.
“What a great day for neighbors around Morningside Park and the entire city,” said Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon. “This $5.5 million investment by the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has increased accessibility, added much-needed restrooms, two amazing playgrounds and more. The additional maintenance fund is a huge bonus that will help ensure this park is here for generations to come. Thank you to everyone who helped make this 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 BlueCross Healthy Place 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
The play areas and challenge course were constructed with accessible poured-in-place surfacing for visitors of all abilities.
“BlueCross Healthy Places are about bringing communities together and making them stronger – and that includes residents of all ages and abilities. We’re excited that this new space is providing additional resources for our neighbors in Knoxville,” added Chelsea Johnson, director of the BlueCross Foundation.
To date, the BlueCross Foundation has invested $51.2 million in BlueCross Healthy Place projects across the state. There are now 21 projects open statewide with more on the way.
For more on the BlueCross Healthy Place program, see BlueCrossHealthyPlaces.com.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is a taxpaying, not-for-profit health plan serving more than 3.4 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 bcbstnews.com.
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.