Park & Recreation Month
by Heather Wood
Since 1985, America has celebrated July as Park and Recreation Month. Created by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Park and Recreation Month specifically highlights the vital and powerful role local parks and recreation departments play in conversation, health, wellness, and social equity efforts in communities all across the our country.
This year marks 30 years that the NRPA has been celebrating Park and Recreation Month, and our Kernersville Parks and Recreation Department is challenging everyone to get gnarly and celebrate 80s style! We invite you to rock some big hair and leg warmers in our Zumba class, listen to some 80s jams during your morning walk in the park, or get your friends together for some 80s trivia. Most importantly, just get out and experience the power of parks and recreation for yourself.
In Kernersville, you can celebrate a totally rad Park and Recreation Month by attending our Zumba class on Thursday, July 9 at 6:00 pm in our Community Recreation Center (125 E. Bodenhamer Street). Who does not love a good dance move? Participants should plan on dressing up in 1980s style fashion and dancing the evening away to their favorite 80s jams.
“July is the perfect time to highlight all the benefits parks and recreation provides right here in Kernersville,” said Ernie Pages, Recreation & Parks Director. “Our local parks and recreation directly contribute to reduced obesity rates, an improved ecosystem, and increased property values.”
Kernersville Parks and Recreation is leading initiatives and providing opportunities for people to achieve healthier lifestyles, promote and understand nature and conservation, as well as bringing the community closer together through a variety of programs and services. Kernersville Parks and Recreation offers 230 programs annually that meet the recreational needs of our community. KPRD strives to create and maintain relationships with local organizations, schools, and independent contractors to expand the number of program offerings and locations in our community. Along with programs, KPRD also offers community-wide special events and an 8-week summer camp.
Establishing and maintaining community parks helps revitalize communities in a variety of ways including; increasing economic development opportunities, increasing daily physical activity for all ages, reconnecting children with nature, and reducing crime by providing safe, healthy alternatives for at-risk youth. But most importantly, community parks play an important role in improving public health.
KPRD conducted community input sessions asking for suggestions for ways to improve Civitan Park in February 2015. With the information gathered from the meetings, a plan has been put into motion for future renovations of the park. The renovated park will include: expanded tennis courts, a walking track with fitness components, a formalized basketball court and community garden, a splash pad, expanded parking and shelter, bathroom and playground renovations. The main issue being addressed at Civitan Park will be re-routing the drainage into a retention pond to catch water runoff.
During the month of July, both the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex and Fourth of July Park will receive make-overs as well! The two lacrosse fields at the Ivey M. Redmon Sports Complex will receive turf renovation, a permanent fence will be installed along the Cross Country Course, and a new dog park will be added to the facility. Two ball fields will also be addressed for draining issues and wear and tear. A few months ago, street lighting was installed down Beeson Rd., to provide added safety for pedestrians and cars at night.
Just in time for warmer weather, The Vivian F. Bennett Memorial Dog Park in Fourth of July Park was recently updated with a new water fountain and surfacing for the dogs.
Kernersville Parks and Recreation is also offering a spin on our July Movies in the Park Series. Celebrate “Christmas in July,” with us on Friday, July 17 in Harmon Park at dusk. Our featured presentation will be Elf. In this movie, Buddy the Elf, a man raised as an elf in the North Pole, inadvertently wreaks havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size—and is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. Arrive early to claim your spot and enjoy food, Christmas themed games/activities, and even a special visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus, while they are on summer vacation in Kernersville.
Nationally, NRPA is celebrating by sharing the impact parks and recreation has in all our lives by releasing a short animated video titled the “Power of Parks.” NRPA encourages everyone who supports parks and recreation to watch and share the video, including the hashtag #JulyPRM30. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org/July.