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Partnerships Lead to Funding for First “Injury Free” Playground in Lexington

 

Lexington, Ky. (April 20, 2004) − Several Lexington organizations gathered today for a ceremony to break ground on a playground that organizers hope will help prevent injuries to children in a neighborhood with one of the highest numbers of injuries in the city.  The playground will be constructed in Gainesway Park.

 A $60,000 University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital grant received from the Allstate Foundation and the Injury Free Coalition for Kids provided the last missing piece of money for the playground, long envisioned by a group including the Gainesway Empowerment Center, the United Way Success By 6® initiative, LexLinc, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Parks and Recreation and Minnifield-Cutter-Ball Inc.

Work on the playground site begins this National Playground Safety Week and will be completed during the summer.  Over the past three years, the Injury Free Coalition for Kids and the Allstate Foundation together have built 14 playgrounds in the United States.

 “Providing for the health and safety of our children lays a firm foundation for stronger, more vital neighborhoods,” said Ron Corbin, Field Vice President for Allstate’s Southern Region. 

For years, Gainesway Empowerment Center director Mattie Morton, B.S.W., has worried about unsafe play conditions for children in the neighborhood.

 “They play in the streets, slide down the hill into the street, and all try to pile on to the one tire swing,” she said.  “Just a few weeks ago, a child had to be treated at the hospital for injuries.” 

UK Hospital trauma data analysis conducted by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington showed the Gainesway zip code to consistently rank in the top three for numbers of trauma cases involving children under age 18 in Fayette County from 1995-2001.

 

 

 

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“We hope that this playground will make a real difference for the community,” said Susan Pollack, M.D., the UK Children’s Hospital pediatrician who directs the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of Lexington.  “It is important that everyone come together to help prevent injury.  It is the number one cause of death of young people.”

The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Parks and Recreation will provide the land for the playground, in addition to $40,000 generated from a communications tower lease agreement.  City engineers have obtained an additional grant to renovate an existing pond at Gainesway Park into a wetland with trails.

"The Division of Parks and Recreation is grateful to all of those who have partnered to make the park a reality," said Chuck Ellis, director, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Parks and Recreation.  "Recreation opportunities are part of what make Lexington a great place to live and the efforts of those involved are improving those opportunities for Lexington citizens."

A $30,000 donation was given by the United Way Success by 6 initiative, which is a national community-based movement of public and private partnerships that work together to deliver proven solutions in early childhood development that ensure all children ages 0 to 6 are healthy, nurtured and ready to succeed.  The Success by 6 donation was matched by Minnifield-Cutter-Ball Inc. 

"The Gainesway area has been a priority for both Minnifield-Cutter-Ball Inc. and the Success by 6 initiative since it started three years ago,” said Kathy Plomin, president and chief professional officer of United Way of the Bluegrass.  “The birth rate within that area is three times of any other area in Lexington and with our emphasis on the prenatal to six year old population we felt we should target our efforts for that area  to make an impact.  The park and playground will be a very welcomed and needed addition for Gainesway's many young families and Success by 6 is proud to be part of this successful collaboration for the neighborhood."

Plans for the new unique and colorful playground were designed jointly by John L. Carman and Associates, a Lexington landscape architecture firm, and David Strong of Bluegrass Recreation/Little Tikes.  The playground construction will be complete by the end of the year.

Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church members are helping with several aspects of the playground and park. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Information about the Allstate Foundation:

The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by the Allstate Corporation.  The Allstate Corporation (NYSE:ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer.

 

Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Parks and Recreation:

Lexington's Division of Parks and Recreation is dedicated to providing quality parkland, recreational facilities and programs and open space for all.  The division is committed to seeing that every child in Lexington has the opportunity to participate in youth sports and other recreational activities.

 

Minnifield-Cutter-Ball Inc.:

Minnifield-Cutter-Ball Inc. is a non-profit homebuilder responsible for the development of The Arbors subdivision in Lexington.  They use their development fees to help revitalize various neighborhoods and parks, such as Gainesway Park.

 

LexLinc:

LexLinc is a collaboration of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, and local citizens. LexLinc works through partnerships on community-wide issues such as welfare reform, economic empowerment, family safety, and early childhood development.

United Way Success By 6®:

United Way Success By 6 is a national community-based movement of public and private partnerships that work together to deliver proven solutions in early childhood development that ensure all children ages 0 to 6 are healthy, nurtured and ready to succeed. Locally, Success By 6® is a collaborative effort between United Way of the Bluegrass and LexLinc.

 Injury Free Coalition for Kids:

The Injury Free Coalition for Kids (IFCK) is a program to decrease injury among children and youth through shared hospital/community efforts. Safer environments have been created through such efforts as playgrounds, public gardens, and ball teams.  The IFCK is a National Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is located in Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.  It is comprised of hospital-based, community-oriented programs, whose efforts are anchored in research, education and advocacy.  It is among the country’s fastest growing and most effective injury prevention programs.  Currently, the Coalition includes 27 sites located in 24 cities.  Lexington became the first Kentucky site in November, 2003.

 

 

University of Kentucky Children’s Hospital:

UK Children’s Hospital provides care for children from throughout the Eastern half of the state, and provides primary care for local children and many children with special health care needs and their families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gainesway Community Empowerment Center:

The Gainesway Community Empowerment Center is a satellite of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Youth Services.  The mission of the center is to promote opportunities for individuals, families and children to become self-sufficient, empowered and personally responsible.  We partner with the community and other agencies to provide comprehensive quality services for those we serve.

 

Little Tikes, playground designer:

Bluegrass Recreational Products, based in Louisville, represents Little Tikes Commercial.  They have been serving the park and playground industry in Kentucky for over 10 years.  Custom designed play structures are their specialty with great focus on handicapped accessibility and safety for all users.  All playgrounds designed by Bluegrass Recreations meets or exceeds current safety standards.

 

John L. Carman and Associates, Landscape Architecture, Land Planning and Site Engineering:

 John L. Carman and Associates, Inc. was established in 1980 and has since served both the public and private sectors in award winning, comprehensive site design and engineering.