New Carlisle City Council announced Monday night that residents will see changes in town reflecting the city’s adherence to a Creating Healthy Communities program. A grant secured on behalf of the city by the Clark County Combined Health District will go toward placing a new playground in Smith Park near the shelter house.

New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge said the Smith Park shelter house is “a money-maker” for the city, as it often booked with rentals for parties and private gatherings. He noted that the most common complaint he receives from renters is that there is no playground equipment in close proximity of the shelter, meaning that children have to walk all the way across the park to play during parties there.

“It basically becomes a safety issue,” Bridge said of the children having to walk out of their guardians’ sight to play, adding that the new playground is something he’s been quietly working on since taking over as City Manager.

The new playground set including slides, swings, and other features, will only cost the city manpower hours in installing its foundation, though the equipment itself is valued at approximately $22,000.

Bridge said Sarah Dahlinghaus from the Clark County Health Department was instrumental in securing the grant for New Carlisle, as the health department intends to establish healthy programs across the county following the Creating Healthy Communities drive. Dahlinghaus shared information with Bridge that states Clark County’s obesity rate is “alarmingly high,” at a rate of 67.5 percent, saying: “we need to work even harder to instill healthy habits in our children.”

“Considering this statistic, the Creating Healthy Communities program is planning many projects throughout the county. One in particular being the installation of a new playground in Smith Park in the City of New Carlisle,” Dahlinghaus told Bridge, adding that she hopes the new playground will encourage use of the facilities as well as the bike path, which cuts right through the park.

He deemed the playground equipment “a gift to the citizens of New Carlisle that was so desperately needed and much-deserved,” Bridge said.

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