A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Playground to Park: Latonia Elementary play area expands to full-service community park

Volunteers work on expanding Latonia Elementary's playground into a park for the whole community. (Photo from CGN)

Volunteers work on expanding Latonia Elementary’s playground into a park for the whole community. (Photo from CGN)

The Center for Great Neighborhoods in Covington cut the ribbon Friday on a new Latonia Cardinals Community Park built in an expansion of the Latonia Elementary School playground.
The massive community effort to expand the play area into a public park involved more than 100 volunteers and started when center associates approached D’Artagnan Coots at the school. The plan was to make the playground an intergenerational park with equipment for infants 6 months to 23 months, toddlers 2-5 years, elementary school age 5-12 years and an adult fitness area with machines usually found in gyms.
CGN provided the funding and a number of other local organizations helped in the planning process. Funding came via several grants and the city of Covington.
In addition to the new community park, the elementary school also got a big investment to create a vegetable garden. The school and CGN partnered with Keep Covington Beautiful and Lowe’s to use a $20,000 grant to improve the outdoor garden space and create an indoor hydroponics lab.
Latonia Elementary uses the garden for more than just teaching on food systems and the plant cycle. It is incorporated into life lessons on economics, business development, community improvement and healthy living.

Led by fifth-grade social studies teacher Bob Runyan and parent and Garden Club instructor Ben Huber, the garden has already seen significant improvements in the last few years with the addition of raised beds, an outdoor classroom and a hoop house that is currently under construction. This investment will take the garden to the next level, as well as expand the growing season and learning potential by having a hydroponics system inside the building, according to CGN.
Plans and construction will take place this fall with completion targeted for December 2014.
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From CGN

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