Hickory Park of New Hanover is the $10,000 winner of the local park campaign that ended Thursday.
Residents voted for their favorite park from a ballot of 12 area parks all last month by sending in selfies taken at the park and scanning a QR scan code with their smartphone while at the park.
Hickory Park won 1st place by receiving a total of 24,732 votes.
The Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation began the first tri-county park contest July 1 inspired by the national Coca-Cola Co. campaign “America is Your Park.”
Ashley Pultorack, the foundation’s program officer for schools, recreation and active living, said the foundation knew the area had the capacity to get the community active at their local parks.
“Community collaboration and community effort was evident at each park in the contest,” Pultorack said.
The local park campaign is called “On Your Park, Get Set, Go!” Pultorack said the contest was created to build awareness of local parks and to promote fitness at the parks.
Dave Kraybill, the foundation’s executive director, said the campaign helped promote a healthier community.
“More people active in the park leads to better health for each individual and the community,” He said.
In addition to promoting physical fitness, the contest allowed parks to compete for several recreational grants.
New Hanover Recreation Director Connie Garner said several improvements will be made to Hickory Park with the $10,000 they won. Garner said the township would like to add a porch swing for older residents so they can use it while watching their grandchildren play.
She also said the park would like to add some more playground equipment.
“We have a playground set for older kids but I’d like to get one for 3 to 5 year olds,” Garner said.
Hickory Park is located at 2140 Big Road. For more information about the park visit www.newhanover-pa.org/.
Exeter Community Park came in a close second with 23,382 votes. The park was awarded a $7,500 grant. Exeter Township plans to use the money to enhance the playground facilities among other needed repairs according to the Mission Healthy Living Facebook.
Exeter Park is located off Elm Street in the St. Lawrence Borough. For more information about this park visit www.exetertownship.com/.
A $5,000 recreational grant went to the 3rd place winner of the contest which was Sunset Park of Upper Pottsgrove. Sunset Park received 14,440 votes during the contest.
The township has several improvements they would like to do with the award money.
“We would like to restore the water levels of the ponds, improve the shoreline and construct a pier or beach to improve shoreline access,” said Gregory Churach, chairman of the Upper Pottsgrove Open Space and Recreation Board.
Sunset Park is located at 1401 N. Charlotte Street. For more information about this park visit www.upperpottsgrovetownship.org/.
The final winner of the contest was chosen through a random drawing. Memorial Park of Pottstown received a $2,500 grant.
Pottstown Park and Recreation Director Michael Lenhart said the funds would be used to update a popular destination at the park.
“One of the things we’d like to do is make some improvements at the Fountain of Youth Spray Park,” He said.
Memorial Park is located at 75 W. King Street. For more information about this park visit www.pottstown.org/.
For a full listing of all 12 parks that participated in the contest visit bit.ly/1qHrzvM.
The foundation plans to continue the park contest next year “with another layer of community involvement” said Kraybill.
The Mercury is engaged in a year-long effort, Fit for Life, designed to promote healthy living and inspired by recent health studies which indicate an alarming increase in obesity and overweight people. In addition to articles in the newspaper and on our website, Fit for Life features a blog with recipes, health tips, resources, tips on getting fit without breaking the bank, maps and other tools all available free online. Visit the website at www.pottsmerc.com/Fitforlife, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MercFit4Life and follow our efforts on Twitter @MercFit4Life.
You can follow Michilea Patterson on Twitter @MichileaP. Patterson is the Fit for Life reporter and is funded in part by the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation.