San Antonio residents no longer need a gym membership or any sort of fancy equipment to work out. They can now go to Labor Street Park to play kickball, basketball or even use outdoor fitness equipment.
Not so long ago, Labor Street Park was in desperate need of some TLC. The lights didn’t turn on and the basketball courts were cracked. But that all changed, thanks to a grant from The Coca-Cola Company and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), as part of the Coca Cola Refreshing Community Spaces program. The park is now a highlight of the community. It’s filled with kids, families and teens, running, playing and just hanging out, all throughout the day and into the evening.
“We live in a city with so much sunshine. Now we have a place to gather and enjoy it together,” Selsa Adham Gonzalez, a community member said.
The San Antonio park project is part of a larger partnership between Coca Cola and NRPA. Grants to local communities are making it easier for people to get active — and meet their neighbors — in a convenient location.
So far, the partnership has supported programs in eight communities. It’s built a skate park in Atlanta, improved a hockey rink in Boston and created a teen wellness center in Chicago.
The relationship doesn’t end though once the park is up-to-date. The focus then switches to supporting physical activity programming. The partnership provides amenities, like fitness equipment, refurbished fields and picnic tables, and then follows it up with program funding.
“That’s what we love about the program,” Marla Collum, the Senior Manager of Programs at NRPA said, “It’s a two pronged approach.”
The goal is to make the programming as accessible to community members as possible. In San Antonio, for instance, there’s a kickball league for young adults, as well as RoTenGo, a form of tennis that can be played anywhere, and general fitness classes. The courses are often outdoors and held in the evening, making it easy for people to stop by after work.
“The program in San Antonio is a model for getting people out in their local parks. They’re just doing an amazing job,” Marla said.
San Antonio’s leaders agree.
“We’re thankful to our partners like The Coca-Cola Company who understand the important role parks play in bringing people together,” said City Councilman Roberto Trevino.
That’s the final goal of the partnership: to strengthen connections in communities by giving people a place to gather and talk to one another.
“From the new fitness stations and kickball field, to a RoTenGo league, these provide a positive and welcoming place for neighbors to come together and strengthen community bonds at Labor Street Park,” Roberto added.
If you’d like to read more about how organizations are getting active in the community, take a look at these other articles from Together Counts!