Climbing, sliding, swinging and hiding. That is what local children are doing at the new playground recently built at Livingston’s Winningham Park.
“Project diabetes” is what Mayor Curtis Hayes calls it. The playground is supposed to help prevent diabetes from developing in young children through activity.
The playground – a pair of swings and play structure sitting on a 20 feet by 14 feet area of mulch – was completed on April 23 by using a $10,000 Diabetes Initiative Grant from the Tennessee Department of Health. Hayes said the grant required the city to be willing to put in over $10,000 of in-kind labor, such as manpower and use of dump trucks, or to match it financially.
“At the end of the day…in actual city dollars, there is probably about $1,000 in it just for pre-washed mulch and the railroad ties,” he said. “The rest is just labor and gas.
“The playground equipment actually cost $9,800, and the grant took care of that.”
The idea started, Hayes said, when the Overton County Health Department (OCHD) became aware of the grant from the State of Tennessee. The project then became a team effort in which the city partnered with the county health department and also with the L.B.J.& C. Head Start. The grant was written by the Upper Cumberland Development District. Involved in the project along with the L.B.J.&C. were Andy Langford, director of the OCHD and Christy Collins, OCHD health promotions coordinator.
As well as helping local kids stay fit, the playground will be used by Head Start students to learn about the importance of being healthy. As stated in a letter received by Livingston from the State Department of Health, “The health department is helping teach the 4-year-old class at L.B.J. & C. the importance of health, diet and exercise…The children from L.B.J.& C. will have access (to the playground).”
Before construction started, Hayes went before the Overton County Board of Education on Feb. 11 of this year to ask for permission to build the playground since both Livingston and Overton County own property at Winningham Park, which the board approved at a Feb. 18 meeting.
“Their property and our property are adjacent,” Hayes said. “It’s actually on half city, half county.”
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