September 22, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
Its been 23 years since the community playground was built at Greenbrook Park and while it has held up well city officials believe its time for a new one to replace it.
The city recently applied for a Healthy Places Grant through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Foundation which if approved would provide up to $750,000 in funding for a new playground.
Mayor Josh Miller addressed the issue with the aldermen during Monday night’s special called city council meeting.
Virginia Alexander, Community Development Planner for the Upper Cumberland Development District, was also at the meeting to discuss the project.
“Its done through Blue Cross as a foundational grant so its not coming from government funds. Its from Blue Cross. They started this foundation to do parks and create what they call Healthy Places. We have applied to have the Greenbrook Playground replaced with new equipment. It would be new, upgraded, safer equipment and it would have turf type material to make the grounds safer. It would also be more handicapped accessible. If this grant is awarded Smithville would be required to do the demolition of the existing park but then Blue Cross would come in and build the park with branding on it that says Blue Cross Healthy Places because they want their name on it if they are going to put up to $750,000 in it. They will come in and redo that whole area and then it transfers back over to the city once its completed. The city will be responsible for maintenance but it’s a free installation and they (Blue Cross Blue Shield) does everything during the project,” said Alexander.
The grant application was submitted in August. Grant awards are announced in January.
Since 2005, the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation has supported schools, arts and cultural groups, museums, and other organizations that make life better here in Tennessee.
In 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield announced a new signature cause that would help make an even bigger impact on the communities they serve – the BlueCross Healthy Place Program. The foundation is creating BlueCross Healthy Places, including parks with fitness equipment and playgrounds, across the state so neighbors have places to come together, get to know one another and enjoy healthy activity.
Each BlueCross Healthy Place is uniquely designed to meet the needs of the area and people it serves, and each space is inclusive with features for visitors of all ages and abilities.