For the third year in a row, Coca-Cola is continuing their successful program America is Your Park.
They are urging people to vote for their favorite parks and the top three with the most votes will win recreation grants from the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative.
First place gets $100,000, second $50,000 and third $25,000. There is even an additional grant of $15,000 for a park selected randomly from the top 25 spots.
That’s plenty of funds to clean-up a sandbox, plant some trees and put in new equipment. Which can make a huge difference to an entire community. I know that as well as anyone.
My favorite park is Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan’s East Village. It is a block away from our apartment and we take our daughter there frequently.
If you had told me fifteen years ago, when I first started living in New York City, that I would one day be bringing my daughter to Tompkin’s Square on a daily basis, I would have thought you had lost your mind. I wouldn’t have even lived in the East Village back then.
Tompkins Square was known as a scary place where people went to buy, sell and use drugs. It was dirty, neglected and not a place you would ever walk through at night (or during the day), let alone bring your children.
I remember going to a bar in Alphabet City (Tompkins Square runs from Avenue A to B) when I was in my twenties and being scared out of mind.
Obviously, a lot has changed since then.
The city cracked down on drugs, families moved into the neighborhood and the community responded with a total upgrade to the park and specifically the playgrounds within it.
Tompkins Square is still a place where creative people from all walks of life convene— artists, musicians, photographers and everyone that makes the East Village such a wonderfully diverse, vital place to live. But it is also a place for college students, dog owners, families and children.
There is still an old guy who sits on a bench outside the main playground playing saxophone every day, a drum circle that often erupts on the weekends, and an area where old-timers go to challenge each other at chess.
These aspects of the park haven’t changed, but my daughter gets to experience them, enjoy them and be educated by them.
I am so thankful for the clean-up of Tompkins Square, something that happened prior to me moving to the East Village. It is a big reason why my husband and I decided to raise a family here.
There is a safe place for our children to play and a place where the families in our community convene.
It was why I voted for Tompkins Square this year for America is Your Park.
If you’d like to vote for your favorite park, you can easily do so at LivePositively.com/parks. At the site, you can also learn about ways to get your community involved and rally around your favorite park for a real chance at winning the $100,000 grant.
This is sponsored content from Babble and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of Coca-Cola. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Only legal residents of the 50 U.S. (and D.C.) who are at least 13 years old and reside within the U.S. at the time of participation are eligible to vote for a Park. Participate on behalf of a Park by: July 15, 2012. The 3 most popular Parks will be offered a grant and there will be 1 Wild Card drawing at the end of the Contest to award an additional grant. To participate, for Official Rules, and complete details including grant descriptions, visit www.LivePositively.com/parks. Void where prohibited. Click here to see more of the discussion.