District and city officials dedicate new Spark Park at Ridgemont Elementary

SPARK School Park Program made a stop in Fort Bend ISD during its 2016 SPARK Week, dedicating one its newest parks at Ridgemont Elementary school on Nov. 14.

The new park marks the first partnership between Fort Bend ISD and SPARK Park, and several elected officials, Fort Bend ISD board members and administrators were on hand for the occasion.

At the new SPARK Park, students will be able to play basketball, play soccer on the permanent field, or use the four square area. The park will also include benches and a walking trail.

Each SPARK Park is built to the specific needs of the surrounding community and typically includes playground equipment, benches and a walking trail. SPARK Parks are available for community use after the end of the school day, including after-school programs, and on weekends.

Principal Stephanie Houston welcomed the audience, including State Rep. Ron Reynolds, Fort Bend County Commissioner Grady Prestage and City of Houston Council Member Larry V. Green. Clarence Holliday, from the office of U.S. Rep. Al Green, presented a United States flag to Principal Houston to mark the occasion.

“It is the first SPARK park in Fort Bend ISD and is a wonderful example of collaboration at every level – the community, the district, the City of Houston and Fort Bend County,” said Houston.

Financial support for the new SPARK Park at Ridgemont came from all over the county and city, including Council Member Green, Commissioner Prestage, and the Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union.

The Ridgemont community’s penny drive raised nearly $3,000 for the park. Also notable, two Fort Bend ISD campuses, Scanlan Oaks and Sienna Crossing, contributed to the project.

Kathleen Ownby, SPARK Executive Director, thanked the audience for their commitment to the year-long project, from the beginning to the completion.

“This is our first and hopefully not our last park in Fort Bend ISD,” said Ownby.

The SPARK School Program was founded in 1983, by then Houston Council Member Eleanor Tinsley, to address recommendations by the Green Ribbon Committee. The panel suggested that Houston needed to build more green space to remain comparable to other U.S. cities.

In the more than 30 years since its founding, SPARK has built more than 200 parks throughout the Houston and Harris County area, working with schools in Alief ISD, Houston ISD, Katy ISD, and more.

Corporate and civic contributors to SPARK School Park Program include Amegy Bank, Blue Bell Creameries, the Cultural Arts Council of Houston Harris County, the Brown Foundation and much more.

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