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The Virginian - Pilot (Norfolk, VA.)
The city is hoping to make ailing Northwest River Park and Campground a bit more fit, but needs some help to do it.
Saturday marked the beginning the National Recreation and Park Association's month-long Meet Me at the Park campaign, in which people can nominate Chesapeake to receive a $20,000 grant to install outdoor fitness equipment at the park. Other Hampton Roads cities are also vying for the grant, as well as others from across the country.
Kevin Kaul, Chesapeake's parks manager, said after an early March story in The Virginian-Pilot about Northwest River Park and its various needs, he's been approached by people asking how they can help. Not everybody can clear drainage ditches and trails, he said. The grant campaign is a "cool idea" in which "people could easily be involved in creating something new at the park."
Parameters for the grant include a park improvement project or program that connects youth to nature, increases youth access to sports and/or inspires healthy living, said Lynn Jordan, a city recreation specialist.
Kaul said the money would be used to create a fitness area similar to one at Chesapeake's recently renovated Elizabeth River Park. It could have an assortment of equipment, like outdoor rowing and elliptical machines, and places to do pulls-up and leg lifts.
There have been increasing requests from people for things like that, Kaul said, and he hopes to find a spot with a view.
Existing park amenities include disc and miniature golf courses, children's playgrounds, trails and boat rentals, in addition to the campground.
Kaul said the money can't be used to replace Northwest's rotting wood and aging infrastructure, but it's an easy way for people to help .
Votes can be cast daily at www.nrpa.org/beinspired until the end of the month. The city with the most nominations gets the grant. Jordan said the winner will be revealed May 18.
Everyone who nominates a city will be entered into a drawing for a tablet that's been outfitted to be used outdoors, according to a press release. Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk are also taking part in the campaign.
A Virginia Beach parks and rec spokeswoman said the city doesn't have a park submitted for consideration, but would support nominations that come from the public.
Meet Me at the Park is in its third year and is a collaborative effort with The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney/ABC Television Group and ESPN, to revitalize U.S. parks, according to a press release.
Visit Chesapeake's Parks, Recreation and Tourism website for more information.
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