Healthy Jacksonville Nears 80% of Funding for Park Renovation Project

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 11, 2020 at 8:24pm

Nearly 80% of the $100,000 needed to renovate a Jacksonville public park have been raised.

Plans for the renovation of Minnie Barr Park by The Healthy Jacksonville Program intend to get underway in April as the group announced today that they are closing in on their fundraising goal, all without asking for financial support from the public.

Lori Hartz, Director of Community Relations for Passavant Area Hospital, says that the park was identified in year one of the Healthy Jacksonville program as a project that fit the criteria of helping families identify ways they can be healthier.

We quickly noticed that children in the neighborhood in the Northeast quadrant of town didn’t have a very safe place to play. The objectives of Healthy Jacksonville are to overcome obstacles that may not necessarily be, actually making a doctor’s appointment, but things that might keep you from being as healthy as you can. So children’s activities, being as active as you can, going to the park, playing with your friends, those are all activities that lead to a healthier lifestyle for children. So this really ties in with our Healthy Jacksonville Initiative, to do a renovation in Minnie Barr Park.”

The $100,000 fundraising campaign will pay for the addition of playground equipment

specifically geared toward children 10 years and younger. The existing basketball court will be resurfaced and doubled in size, and new baskets will be installed.

In addition, existing playground equipment will be repaired and repainted, as well as some new equipment is being installed as well.

Hartz says that many area organizations and businesses have stepped in to help fund the project so the group has not needed to make a public appeal for donations.

We have been really successful at identifying community partners who wanted to be a part of this project. We really didn’t do a wide spread fundraising effort on this project, we really did targeted fundraising toward organizations that are geared at community projects that benefit families and children.

We have five or six funding partners that have those priorities as their guidance. So we are nearing 80% of our fundraising goal with our existing partners, and we also have a couple of more grant applications that are pending, so if those are successful and are funded,then we will be at 100% of our goal.”

Hartz says that neighborhood residents helped plan for the project, and Jacksonville city government has pledged to contribute $25,000 from city coffers.

Hartz says that this project could not happen without a lot of generosity from the Jacksonville community.

We are not asking the public for donations, we just want the public to know that our Healthy Jacksonville Initiative is where this project idea came from. We are very happy that the community is recognizing the need for improvements in this park. And we have some great partnerships both financially and I think through organizations that are helping to fund the project, we will find lots of volunteers.

It took us about a year to make this happen, but it is pretty exciting that the Jacksonville community can jump on board projects like this. It happens all the time, I think we have all seen that in Jacksonville that there’s a lot of community minded people out there who want to improve the quality of life for people in Jacksonville and this is just another example of that.”

In addition to the city’s donation, Passavant Area Hospital, the Jacksonville Children’s Foundation, Jacksonville Kiwanis club, Rotary club, Amvets and Aldi Foods have all contributed to the renovation effort for Minne Barr Park.