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New playground equipment part of overall initiative
by Nneka Okona
October 30, 2012 03:37 PM | 2442 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Mary Cosgrove <br>
From left, City Manager Steve Rapson, Councilwoman Shirley Jackson, her grandson Jackson, 2, and Park Manager Lee Blitch stand by the monkey bars.
Staff / Mary Cosgrove
From left, City Manager Steve Rapson, Councilwoman Shirley Jackson, her grandson Jackson, 2, and Park Manager Lee Blitch stand by the monkey bars.
As a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, a new playground has been installed at Ronald Bridges Park.

New playground equipment includes a rock climbing wall, a zip lining area, various slides and a seesaw.

City Manager Steve Rapson said a master plan was created for the park upgrades and the city and council went through a “pretty elaborate process of selecting which playground system” to put in place.

Rapson said improvements were ongoing for the park for the past three years.

“Over the [past] three years, we have put in a brand new restroom facility and pavilion, created the terraces between the basketball goals, installed a security camera system, put in a two-mile nature trail adjacent to the park and a lower, brand new parking lot,” he said.

Union City budgeted $34,750 for the playground, including $9,000 in funding awarded by the Dr. Pepper Snapple group KABOOM! Let’s Play construction grant program.

The funding from the group allowed for $6,000 from preferred vendors to purchase the equipment from.

In addition to new equipment and improved amenities, Rapson said programming at the park has expanded.

“There is a new litany of programs,” he said. “Zumba, karate, football, softball and baseball have expanded.”

An increase in programming is crucial for residents for a key reason, according to Rapson.

“People move to a city because it’s safe,” he said. “People stay in a city for the quality of life. We are drastically improving our parks and recreation in Union City.”

Enhancing parks and recreation within the city is part of a larger vision, the vision of the Let’s Move campaign, which encourages communities and families to improve their diets and lead more active lives.

The hope is if more programming is offered within Union City and more parks for children and families to gather, health with become a priority with Union City’s residents.

“We are trying to teach residents to be fit for life and trying to teach children that they can have fun while exercising,” said Rapson.

Rapson also said encouraging residents to live healthier lives has a trickle-down effect in terms of healthcare costs.

“We can’t force those who aren’t living healthy lifestyles to get their lives together,” he said. “When residents are healthy, it lowers our healthcare costs.”

Ronald Bridges Park is at 5285 Lakeside Drive.

A ribbon cutting for the playground was held on Oct. 22.

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