Several Jacksonville organizations are working together this afternoon to install new playground equipment in a local park. Lori Hartz, Director of Community Relations for Passavant Area Hospital says she is glad many service organizations in the city got together to help add new equipment for children at Minnie Barr Park near Walnut Court as a part of the Healthy Jacksonville initiative: “We are all here in Minnie Barr Park assembling two major pieces of playground equipment that were purchased through a combination of grants provided by Passavant Area Hospital, the City of Jacksonville, the Children’s Foundation, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, the KA-BOOM Organization which is a national playground foundation, the AMVETS, and Aldi.”
Hartz says that the local neighborhood and the Health Jacksonville group chose the new pieces to install at the park: “We chose this equipment based on what would enhance the park. There is already some existing equipment here, but there weren’t many options for younger kids in the 2-5 age group. One of the structures is really geared toward those kids. Then, we also felt like we needed one for older kids, so there is a climbing structure that we chose for the older kids. When we really chose the equipment, we included the neighborhood to pick out what we would use.”
Hartz says that Minnie Barr Park was chosen because of the large concentration of clients in the Healthy Jacksonville program that live in the North Clay, East Walnut, Walnut Court neighborhood. Hartz says that the two new pieces being installed today will be finished with the help by members of the Rotary, Kiwanis, community volunteers, and All Inclusive Rec installers from Farmington, Missouri.
Hartz says there are more plans for the playground: “We are going to renovate the basketball court, which was one of the most popular parts of this playground and utilized the most. It takes a significant cost to do that, and so we are still looking for a grant to pay for that part of the renovation. We also want to add some trees, some lighting, and benches to encourage more families to spend time in the park. Then, we are going to do work on the fence. Sections of it are in disrepair.”
The park has been in existence since 1967 and was established by the Jacksonville Children’s Foundation from an endowment by Minnie Barr. Healthy Jacksonville began the campaign to renovate the park in September last year.