Project EverGreen kicks off “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids” initiative
Despite windy conditions and the occasional rain drop, Project EverGreen (www.projectevergreen.org) kicked off its “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.”™ Initiative in Cleveland, Ohio with the revitalization of the soccer field behind the Michael J. Zone Recreation Center.
With a host of special guests including Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone, for whose grandfather the center is named after, and City of Cleveland Parks Maintenance Commissioner, Richard Silva, in attendance, Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen, told attendees the revitalization of green spaces benefit children, adults and entire communities.
“Returning the field behind me to a status that allows neighborhood youth and adult sports teams to once again safely practice, play and enjoy the space is what this initiative is all about,” said Code. “Having access to safe and healthy playing surfaces are vital for our kids’ enjoyment and development.”
Studies have confirmed there is significant value in having children spend time outdoors playing, and Project EverGreen’s “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” initiative was created to restore and revitalize green spaces for kids to play, exercise and connect including sports fields and parks.
The initiative is done in collaboration with the Sports Turf Managers Association (www.stma.org) and the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (www.tgwca.org).
“Not only do yards, parks and sports fields promote a healthier lifestyle, they also contribute to economic growth, community development and improve the environment,” added Code.
The project involved aerating, fertilizing, and overseeding the playing surface as well as removing rocks and bricks embedded in the soil. Local contractors lending support to the program included Morton’s Landscape, Schill Grounds Management, Weed Pro and Weed Man. The total estimated cost to renovate the 120-yd. x 60-yd. field was $15,000.
“These fields receive a lot of use and as is the case with fields across the city the need for renovation is there but the funding isn’t always available,” said Silva. “Project EverGreen’s initiative will make this field safer and attractive for the kids to play on.”
“The center is a special place for this community and for me in particular with the center being named for my father and in the ward I serve,” said Councilman Zone. “Initiatives like ‘Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.’ will go a long way to ensure the long term stability and viability of this field and this center.”
Plans call for additional “Healthy Turf. Healthy Kids.” projects in select cities across the United States in 2015.