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Kealing School Park Wins $20,000 Grant

(Credit: Austin Independent School District)

Kealing School Park’s project has been selected as a winner of the national ‘Meet Me at the Park’ campaign and will receive a $20,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN.
The ‘Meet Me at the Park’ campaign helps to revitalize and restore local parks and park programs across the country. These park projects help connect kids to nature, inspire healthy living and provide access to sports. The campaign was promoted on social media, community flyers, Next Door, ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliate stations, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, the ABC app and other digital platforms.
Community members voted between three (3) Austin projects to determine the winner throughout Earth Month in April. Park supporters were able to vote daily for their favorite park project, and at the end of the contest, the Kealing School Park project received the most votes.
Kealing School Park was one of 16 park improvement projects in the United States selected to receive grant funding for 2017.  The project pertains to Kealing School Tennis courts sending storm water downhill towards a newly developed playground. This project will collect the storm water and steer it into a pollinator meadow to encourage infiltration and provide a nearby nature play opportunity.  
The project will also expand a newly developed play area to include a new play environment in an underutilized portion of the park. Play value will be added to the area by introducing limestone boulders, balancing logs, and pathways that encourage exploration and learning. The site will have the ability to be used as an outdoor classroom or amphitheater, and the infiltration basin can create an interactive learning opportunity for hydrology, geology, biology, and other earth sciences.
“Parks provide children and adults with engaging activities that positively impact their daily lives- sometimes it’s physical activity, sometimes it’s stress relief, sometimes it’s engaging with nature with eyes wide open” said Kimberly McNeeley, Acting Director of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. “Providing people of all ages, and in all areas of the city, nature-based programs and a hands-on chance to explore nature, encourages appreciation and environmental stewardship- both of which are imperative to the future of our green spaces.”
“Nearly 70,000 people participated in this year’s Meet Me at the Park campaign, a record number, demonstrating a tremendous amount of support and enthusiasm for local parks nationwide,” said Lori Robertson, NRPA director of conservation. “Many children and families in need will benefit from this campaign, which was made possible by the generosity of The Walt Disney Company. We want to thank them for helping us give back to the communities our members so proudly support.”
In 2016, the Austin community voted for the Austin Nature and Science Center as the winner of the $20,000 grant. With that funding, the community is now able to enjoy a new rock climbing wall, and children have the opportunity to learn this new and exciting outdoor skill in a safe environment.

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