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Dayton Celebrates Grand Opening Of BlueCross Healthy Place At Pendergrass Park

  • Friday, April 26, 2024

Representatives from the city of Dayton and the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation recently gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the BlueCross Healthy Place at Pendergrass Park.

The BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation provided $4 million for the project build and an additional $800,000 for a maintenance fund, bringing the total investment in the space to $4.8 million.

Pendergrass Park is a municipal park located off Main Street in Dayton. The city applied for BlueCross Healthy Place funding in the hopes of bringing additional amenities to the space and making it a gathering place for residents. Construction began during the summer of 2023.

Pendergrass Park, named after former teacher Juanita Pendergrass, has been part of downtown Dayton for decades. Ms. Pendergrass was a a teacher in Rhea County for over 20 years. She was a graduate of Bryan College in Dayton and of the University of Tennessee. Members of the City of Dayton Council and a group local leaders led the charge for a rebirth of the playground at 107 Main Street.

BlueCross Healthy Places are designed to strengthen communities across Tennessee by providing neighbors with places for connection and healthy activity. They are developed to be accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities.

“The City of Dayton wants to thank the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation for choosing us to receive BlueCross Healthy Place funding,” said Dayton Mayor Hurley Marsh. “Without their generosity, we would not have been able to make so many improvements to our park. We are excited to share the revitalized park with community members, and we know our families and their children will enjoy this all-inclusive and accessible facility for years to come.”

Keith King, manager of the BlueCross Healthy Place program, added, “We’ve enjoyed partnering with the City of Dayton on the revitalization of Pendergrass Park, and we’re excited to celebrate the re-opening of this popular space. We hope the new amenities will make the park more accessible for everyone and enhance Dayton’s strong community spirit.”

Features in the new space include:

  • Ramped, accessible play areas for ages 2-5 and 5-12
  • Splash pad
  • Fitness area
  • Pavilions
  • Benches
  • Restrooms

The play area is constructed with accessible poured-in-place surfacing for visitors using mobility devices.

To date, the BlueCross Foundation has invested $59 million in BlueCross Healthy Place projects across the state. There are 21 projects open statewide with more on the way.

The BlueCross Foundation will accept proposals for 2024 BlueCross Healthy Place funding throughout the month of August.

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