Friday, March 30, 2012

Help Transform this East End Park!

With only a few minutes of your time you can help the city’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities revitalize an East End park and give kids a new place to play. All you need to do is visit and vote for Richmond’s Ethel Bailey Furman Park to help the city win a $15,000 grant to refurbish the park’s basketball courts.
      The city of Richmond is one of 25 communities selected by Sprite and the National Recreation and Park Association for the Sprite Spark Parks Project, which will provide grants to revamp basketball courts located in public parks throughout the nation. The amount of each community’s grant funding will be determined by the number of votes it receives by May 31.
      "The 10 parks with the most votes will receive $15,000,” said Dr. Norman Merrifield, director of Richmond’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities. “We could use this funding to re-surface and re-line the park’s two courts and put up new goal posts.”
     Ethel Bailey Furman Park is located on North 28th Street in the East End and is named for the first African-American woman to practice architecture in Virginia. The courts are adjacent to George Mason Elementary School.
      “We estimate that every year thousands of kids from the school and the community would use these courts once they are refurbished, so please go online and vote,” said Merrifield. “Anyone can vote, and you can vote once every day through May 31. If you access a computer every day, we encourage you to set a reminder to vote every day after you log in,” he said.
      Visitors to can vote for Ethel Bailey Furman Park in three different ways:  by submitting the Sprite codes found on Sprite and Sprite Zero Fridge Pack™, 20-pack, 24-pack, 20 oz. and 2-liter products; by using My Coke Rewards points; or by entering Richmond’s special promotional code (SPRITEPARKRICH) when you don’t have a Sprite code or My Coke Rewards points.
      “Parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities across the country are the best places for kids and teens to go to be physically active, improve their health, and have fun,” said Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of NRPA. “We are proud to work with Sprite on this restorative effort because we must preserve and maintain these public spaces to ensure that all can take advantage of the healthy benefits they have to offer for years to come.”
      The mission of the Sprite Spark Parks Project is to refresh neighborhood basketball courts so teens can be uncontainable, and this year, we’re getting 25 courts back in the game by funding grants,” said Michael Matthews, vice president, non-colas sparkling, Coca-Cola North America.
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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.  The Company’s portfolio includes 15 billion dollar brands, including Coca-Cola, recognized as the world’s most valuable brand, as well as Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitamin water, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world’s largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company’s beverages at a rate of 1.7 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

About The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people.  Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.  For more information, visit

About Richmond Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities provides quality of life leisure services for residents and visitors through its programs, parks and facilities. One of the oldest municipal park systems in the country, it is home to more than 57 parks and open spaces, including the renown James River Park, 136 tennis courts, 82 athletic fields, 73 basketball courts, 24 trails, 18 community centers, nine swimming pools, and numerous tot lots, picnic areas and playgrounds. The department also cares for seven cemeteries and more than 22 statues and monuments and is responsible for the annual Festival of the Arts at Dogwood Dell, First Tee of Richmond, the Landmark Theater and the Richmond Coliseum.