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City of Knoxville, Tennessee
Madeline Rogero, Mayor

For Immediate Release
City Receives Two Tennessee Recreation & Parks Association Highest Awards
November 28, 2007 - The City of Knoxville's Parks and Recreation Department has received two of the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association highest awards - one for a newly created program and one for the renovation of an existing community park.

Lonsdale Park Info
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The Four Star Awards were given to Lonsdale Park for Best Renovated Facility and to the city's Power-U Healthy Program for Best New Program.

The TRPA hands out the Four Star Awards annually and Knoxville competes with other cities like Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga for them.

"We're very pleased to have been selected for these awards," Mayor Bill Haslam said. "It's always nice to be recognized and these are certainly two very worthy projects. Parks and Recreation has won Four Star Awards before but to win two out in the same year is something special."

The TRPA gives out four of the awards annually.

The City received the awards during a ceremony earlier this month at the TRPA's annual conference, which was held in Gatlinburg.

Scores of Lonsdale residents joined Haslam and city officials last August to open the renovated Lonsdale Park, which now features four basketball courts, a large gazebo, two accessible playgrounds and a paved greenway loop.

Ribbon cutting at Lonsdale Park
Ribbon cutting at Lonsdale Park

The Parks and Recreation Division renovated the park as part of a larger city effort to revitalize the Lonsdale Community.

The city also worked with Knox County Schools to remove Bragg Street to connect Lonsdale Elementary School, and the children who attend it, with the park and the Lonsdale Recreation Center.

Before that students had to cross the sometimes-busy street to get from the school to the park.

"The most commendable aspect of the Lonsdale Park renovation was the City's Community Development, Public Service, Engineering, and Parks and Recreation Departments working together in order to make the largest impact on the community," said Sam Anderson, Senior Director of the City's Operations and Efficiency Department. "Giving elementary students a park facility and an after school program to walk to, without ever crossing the street, is an irreplaceable attribute."

The Parks and Recreation Department's Power-U Healthy program, spear-headed by West Haven Recreation Center Leader Maria Dibenedetto, is an effort to address the increasing issue of childhood obesity.
Children participating in the area recreation centers took field trips to walk on local greenways, ate and learned about healthy foods, and celebrated the completion of the program with a walk around Victor Ashe Park with Mayor Haslam.

Blue Cross Blue Shield also donated 200 pedometers to encourage the children to walk for exercise, as a part of the program.

"We believe one of our roles in the Parks and Recreation Department to set an example for leading healthy lives," said Joe Walsh, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation. "Our staff went the extra mile with this program by educating and rewarding the kids in our program on healthy living."

For Immediate Release
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