Community Turns Physical Activity Into Votes To Help Veterans Memorial Park Become “America’s Favorite Park”

Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:05am EDT

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Community Turns Physical Activity Into Votes To Help Veterans Memorial Park Become “America’s Favorite Park”

Coca-Cola awards $100,000 recreation grant as part of its America Is Your Park campaign to help the Moore, Okla. park rebuild after tornado

“Take It To The Park” was the rally cry heard around the country this summer. Thousands of people responded by getting active on behalf of their favorite parks. Veterans Memorial Park in Moore, Okla. emerged as “America’s Favorite Park” with more than 400,000 votes and 16,000 hours of activity logged. The park will receive a $100,000 recreation grant from the Coca-Cola America Is Your Park campaign to help rebuild activity areas destroyed by a tornado.

“Americans are passionate about their parks. Each year, the widespread support for the America Is Your Park campaign shows us just how much. This year in particular was remarkable because communities across the country came together to support a special park in need – Veterans Memorial Park,” said Stuart Kronauge, General Manager, Sparkling Beverages, Coca-Cola USA. “Our goal was to inspire people across the country to rediscover the joy of being active and to use that activity to benefit parks. Through this effort, a town devastated by a tornado will begin rebuilding one of their beloved landmarks.”

Veterans Memorial Park catapulted to the top of the leaderboard when other communities rallied to its support. In a show of solidarity and compassion, previous grant winners and supporters whose parks were also damaged by natural disasters, came together to campaign for Veterans Memorial Park. These communities helped organize online voting drives and engaged celebrities to encourage voting for Veterans Memorial Park. Supporters encouraged fun outdoor activity and posted daily Facebook voting reminders to help the park win the top spot.

“Recovering from the tornado has been difficult, but the rebuilding efforts have strengthened our community and brought us all closer together,” said Todd Jenson, Parks and Recreation Director, City of Moore. “The support and love our town received from all over the country is overwhelming. Thanks to Coca-Cola and everyone who voted, we can start rebuilding Veterans Memorial Park and create new memories.”

In addition to the top prize, second- and third-place winners – Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, Va., and Greis Veterans Memorial Park in Lynbrook, N.Y. – received $50,000 and $25,000 recreation grants, respectively. Additionally, Woodlawn Lake Park in San Antonio, Texas was chosen, at random, to receive a $15,000 “wildcard” grant.

Activity grants totaling $40,000 were also awarded to four select parks across the country at field day events this summer. These grants will help restore, rebuild or enhance activity areas in parks where people can play and be active.

The fierce online campaign included nearly 12,000 national, state and local parks from around the country. People got active on behalf of parks by logging daily fitness activities, attending field day events and having good old-fashioned fun outdoors. Communities also used social media to encourage activity and rally their supporters to help parks win money for improvements. As a result, people around the country logged more than 72,000 hours of activity and cast more than 1.4 million votes.

Coca-Cola has supported efforts to maintain and rebuild parks across the nation for more than 40 years. The Company has donated more than $17 million to date in recreation grants and partnerships to help keep families active in the great outdoors. America Is Your Park was developed in partnership with the National Park Foundation, America’s State Parks and the National Recreation and Park Association.

About the Winning Parks

Veterans Memorial Park

Veterans Memorial Park was designed to honor our veterans and create spaces for families and people to spend time together. In May 2013, it was heavily damaged by a tornado. Activity spaces include a playground, walking trail and more. A Memorial Plaza recognizes veterans from the five branches of service and a Soldiers’ Memorial honors war heroes. The grant will be used to purchase a new playground so families can begin enjoying the park again.

Mason Neck State Park

Mason Neck State Park is located in Lorton, Va., only a few dozen miles from Washington, D.C. The park introduces thousands of visitors to the robust outdoor recreational activities available throughout the region. It is made up of thousands of acres of land and hosts the only visitor center for the entire Mason Neck region of Virginia. The grant will be used to rebuild, restore or enhance activity areas in the park.

Greis Veterans Memorial Park

Greis Park is located in Lynbrook, a south shore community of 20,000 in beautiful Long Island, New York. The park is made up of ball fields, basketball courts, playgrounds, an exercise trail, a swimming pool, indoor recreation center and more. The park will use the grant to purchase new equipment for the exercise trail, playground and recreational programs.

Woodlawn Lake Park

Historic and picturesque Woodlawn Lake Park has been a gathering place for San Antonians for more than 100 years. The popular 62-acre park offers something for everyone. It boasts playgrounds, a gymnasium, walking trail, tennis courts, swimming pool, dance studio, outdoor fitness equipment and more. Residents can be found jogging on the trail, fishing, playing basketball, climbing on a playscape or enjoying a family barbecue. The grant will be used to refurbish the basketball court located in the heart of the park.

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of 1.8 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo or visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com.

America Is Your Park Website: www.Coke.com/Parks
Campaign Hashtag: #TakeItToThePark

The Coca-Cola Company
Sarah Dearman, 404-676-3934
sdearman@coca-cola.com