Groundbreaking

The Bluecross Healthy Place park complex, which will be located at the Huntland City Park, is an all-inclusive playground. The groundbreaking ceremony on June 19 kicked off construction efforts on the expansive project which is scheduled to be completed this fall. Members of the Huntland government joined local community members in welcoming Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee representatives Scott Wilson, director of community relations and foundation, and Chelsea Johnson, manager of community relations and foundation.

Huntland city officials and community members were joined on June 19 by representatives from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation to celebrate the beginning of construction on a BlueCross Healthy Place complex located at the Huntland City Park.

The groundbreaking ceremony heralded the start of construction on the BlueCross Healthy Place project which is scheduled to be completed this fall.

Huntland Mayor Dolton Steele and Vice Mayor Ann Gardner welcomed BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee representatives Scott Wilson, director of community relations, and Chelsea Johnson, manager of community relations, to the ceremony.

Members of the local community were also present at the groundbreaking ceremony to show their appreciation of having been selected by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee to receive $936,000 to go toward building and maintaining the new city park complex, which will bear the BlueCross Healthy Place program name.

Huntland Alderman Ellis Counts was also present at the groundbreaking.

Some of the many features of the BlueCross Healthy Place park include a fully accessible playground with modern equipment, a full basketball court with bleachers, a walking track with outdoor fitness equipment, water fountains, picnic tables, grills, parking areas and an upgraded pavilion for hosting community gatherings.

Huntland Vice Mayor Ann Gardner had worked for years to raise funds toward building a new city park for the Huntland community.

Several committees were formed, and various efforts were initiated to raise money to purchase new playground equipment.

Though the local Huntland community rallied together and supported fundraising efforts for a new playground, the possibility of finding the funds needed for the project seemed bleak.

Gardner persevered, and when she learned of the BlueCross Foundation, she submitted a strong proposal on behalf of the Huntland community.

Eighty municipalities were interested in being selected by the BlueCross Foundation to receive funding for their various projects, but the years of hard work and Gardner’s strong proposal set Huntland apart from the other applicants.

Wilson delivered the official announcement earlier this year that the Huntland community had been selected to receive the $936,000.

“(Huntland leaders) had been working for years toward a new playground, and their presentation made us realize how important this is to the Huntland community,” Wilson said, noting that the BlueCross Healthy Place will be fully accessible for the disabled and for those with special needs. “The city (of Huntland) already uses this space as an integral part of their community, and we wanted to enhance it so that it could be enjoyed by the whole family.”

Several local and county businesses have stepped forward to donate supplies and materials toward the project, including Tony Stone of the Franklin County Paint Store, who donated paint for the bathroom facilities and the covered pavilion.

Anyone interested in donating funds, labor, or materials is encouraged to contact the nonprofit Huntland Playground Fundraiser Committee via Sarah Counts at 931-308-7347 or through her email at sarahmcounts@gmail.com.

Donations to the nonprofit can also be made at the Huntland branch of Citizens Community Bank.