(Pictured from left to right) New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge, Sarah Dahlinghaus from the Clark County Health Department, and New Carlisle Mayor Mike Lowrey cut the ribbon to officially open the new playground at Smith Park.

The new playground at Smith Park is officially open!

"I want to thank everyone involved in making this happen, especially the Clark County Health Department and City Manager Randy Bridge" said New Carlisle Mayor Mike Lowrey at a ribbon cutting ceremony held this afternoon.

A grant secured on behalf of the City of New Carlisle by the Clark County Combined Health District paid for the 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 only cost the city manpower hours in installing its foundation, though the equipment itself is valued at approximately $22,000.

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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