Monday, January 17, 2022

New playground and fitness area installed in low-income housing community

A new playground and fitness center will be installed at the Rivermeade Apartments I and II and Yorktown Square I and II by Community Housing Partners thanks to a grant from the Williamsburg Health Foundation. (WYDaily/Courtesy Community Housing Partners)
A new playground and fitness center will be installed at the Rivermeade Apartments I and II and Yorktown Square I and II by Community Housing Partners thanks to a grant from the Williamsburg Health Foundation. (WYDaily/Courtesy Community Housing Partners)

For some residents in Yorktown, a summer of play, fitness and fun is just ahead.

“We wanted to do something besides a swing set and slide,” said Michael Sutphin, communications manager for Community Housing Partners. “We wanted something that creates health opportunities for our residents by offering places where residents can be physically active and promoting health.”

Thanks to a $45,000 grant from the Williamsburg Health Foundation,  four apartment communities in Yorktown will be getting new playground equipment and a new outdoor fitness area, according to a news release from Community Housing Partners.

Community Housing Partners is a nonprofit that services low-income individuals and families in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic with homes and apartments.

The Rivermeade Apartments I and II and Yorktown Square I and II were purchased by Community Housing Partners in 2006 and restored as a community-oriented living complexes. Each complex has between 48 to 60 housing units of various sizes.

But since acquiring the property, the playground equipment that was in place at all of the complexes had dulled and degenerated, Sutphin said.

“What happened was we had four smaller playgrounds that needed to be replaced and we thought since they’re side by side, how do we make this a broader offering?” said Kirsten Anderson, vice president of asset management for Community Housing Partners. “One will have adult fitness, there will be children on another property and one will have grills.”

The new playgrounds will have unique items such as a bonding swing, which allows an infant and parent to face each other while swinging. Anderson said this helps grow connection in families while promoting healthy habits.

Part of Community Housing Partners’ mission is to create living spaces that contribute to overall active and healthy lifestyles, Sutphin said.

“When you talk about health for a home, the premise is the healthier a resident the more stable the house, said Melissa Covington, procurement manager for Community Housing Partners. “But people always just look at it as physical. We take it a step further with things that contribute more than that. It encompasses community and family involvement.”

The playground will be complete will all new equipment that is expected to last at least 15 years, Covington said.

The fitness area will be stocked with non-mechanical equipment, such as pull-up bars and other activities that use personal body weight for strength training.

Community Housing Partners will be celebrating the new installations with a Foundations of Health event on May 2. During the event, there will be four stations with activities for residents, divided into the themes: healthy bodies, healthy homes, healthy earth, and healthy minds.

There will be yoga, tree planting, a raffle and a food demonstration from the York County Virginia Cooperative Extension.

The event is free and open to the public from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 100 Rivermeade Court in Yorktown. Raffle prizes will only be available for residents.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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