By Michilea Patterson, The Mercury
Two townships came out on top for this year’s regional tri-county parks contest and won thousands of dollars each to go toward improvements.
Area residents casted the highest number of votes for Bob Wayland Park of Upper Frederick as well as Hoffman and Kulp Fields of Upper Pottsgrove.
The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation had their 3rd annual “On Your Park, Get Set, Go!” contest this summer which lasted throughout the month of July. The contest was created to encourage people to visit local parks while also possibly helping their town park win thousands of dollars. This year’s contest had 12 participating parks from Montgomery, Berks and Chester counties.
The parks weren’t the only winners this year. Residents that voted for the parks in July were entered into weekly drawings for prizes. One “parKticipant,” as the foundation likes to call people that participated in the contest, even received a $400 gift certificate for a new bike.
“We received great feedback from ‘parKticipants’ about how much they enjoyed getting to visit all the different parks and how they planned to continue visiting these parks in the future. That’s really what this contest is all about; getting communities back into the parks and raising awareness for all they (the parks) have to offer in terms of helping community members to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Skye Tulio, the foundation’s communication assistant.
Residents that visited regional parks last month and showed their support by voting can still be named a winner. There are still prizes to give away such as a spike ball set, tennis racket and a fitbit, Tulio said. She said those that voted should check the Mission Healthy Living Facebook this week to find out if their name gets picked in a drawing.
As for the park winners, the townships already have plans in place of what they would like to do with the money. Upper Pottsgrove will use the grant funds to improve parking at Hoffman and Kulp Fields. The open space area shares a lot with the Hillside Aquatic Club which gets very crowded at times. Upper Frederick plans to use the grant funds to build a dog park or improve the trail at Bob Wayland Memorial Park.
Upper Pottsgrove won first place for the Healthiest Park Challenge earning a $5,000 grant while Upper Frederick came in second place earning a $2,500 grant. This prize was awarded to the municipality that had the most people vote for their park in July which was calculated from selfie photos taken at the park or tickets put in a drop box. About 2,000 selfie photos were taken at the regional parks for this year’s contest and then submitted as a vote while 581 people used tickets in a drop box to vote.
New to the contest this year was the Activity Challenge. This prize was awarded to the municipality park that had the most residents visiting not only their town park but also the other 11 participating parks. Upper Frederick won first place in this challenge earning an additional $5,000 grant while Upper Pottsgrove earned an additional $2,500 grant for coming in second.
Upper Frederick Township also won a bonus prize of $1,000 for registering 50 residents that visited at least two of the 12 participating parks in the contest. Bob Wayland Memorial Park won a total of $8,500 in grant funds for improvements.
“We were thrilled with how the new structure played out this year,” Tulio said adding that it gave residents an opportunity to explore parks in the region that they wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Ashley Pultorak, program officer at the health foundation, said Upper Frederick and Upper Pottsgrove residents really showed how much they love their town park in this year’s contest.
“They really went above and beyond to figure out ways to get people to the park and support this endeavor,” she said.
Tulio said even though the contest is over that she encourages residents to still visit the regional parks. She said it’s important to take advantage of local parks throughout the year.
“It’s truly been inspiring to see all of the things people are doing at the parks and how the contest has opened their eyes to recreation in the region,” Tulio said. “Love your parks!”
For photos and videos of all 12 parks that participated in this year’s campaign, visit the “On Your Park 2016” menu tab on the Fit for Life website at pottsmercfit4life.wordpress.com/category/on-your-park-2016.
The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance healthy living opportunities for area residents. To find out more about the foundation and its other programs, visit the website www.pottstownfoundation.org or facebook.com/MissionHealhtyU.