Playgrounds keep kids healthy in Lewis

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]
The playground at Tollesboro -

VANCEBURG — Construction of two playgrounds in Lewis County is nearing completion.

Through grant funding, several groups from Lewis County have come together to put that money to work in their community. Lewis County Judge-Executive Todd Ruckel said with the combined efforts of the fiscal court, Tollesboro Lions Club and Lewis County Farm Bureau, two playgrounds, one in Tollesboro and the other in Garrison, will both be completed by the end of the month.

According to Mandi Broderick, Family and Consumer Science agent at the extension office, the county received the grant through the Centers for Disease Control, and then administered by the University of Kentucky and the extension office. The grant was intended to target obesity and aid communities in combating it.

Lewis County was one of six counties in the state which received the grant. The six counties selected, Broderick said, had some of the highest obesity rates.

Since receiving the grant, the county has been putting the funds to good use in making the community healthier by encouraging proper nutrition and exercise, adding water bottle filling stations in the local schools and offering healthy food samples in grocery stores.

One of the greater achievements the grant funded was the construction of the playgrounds in Tollesboro and Garrison. While the grant paid for the equipment for the playgrounds, Broderick said, it would not fund labor costs; that’s when the Tollesboro Lions Club and the Lewis County Farm Bureau came in to supply the manpower.

Ruckel said each playground will have six to seven pieces of equipment for children to play on, with some ADA-compliant equipment for children who may be disabled.

Having so few areas to exercise in Lewis County, with Broderick mentioning the only area for residents of Garrison to exercise is a subdivision for kids to walk around, she is glad to see areas outside of Vanceburg receiving opportunities to lead healthier lives.

“It’s something that the community really, really needed, and it’s got a lot of people excited,” she said.

According to Ruckel, a dedication for both playgrounds is planned, but a date has yet to be confirmed until both are completed.

“Tollesboro is pretty much finished,” Ruckel said. “Garrison, we’re hoping to get it finished by the end of this month.”

The playground at Tollesboro playground at Tollesboro

Jonathan Wright

[email protected]