Ark City receives $50K grant for Lovie Watson Park revitalization


The City of Ark City has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Healthy Pathways, earmarked for the revitalization of Lovie Watson Park.

According to a news release from the city Tuesday, the collaboration among the city, the Lovie Watson Park Task Force and RISE Cowley Steering Committee members has played a pivotal role in securing this grant.

“Their dedication to fostering community health and providing accessible recreational spaces has been instrumental in attracting external support for local initiatives,” the city said.

Nick Elder, Group Sales Advisor at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, was in Ark City recently to present the check for the grant. A few of Lovie Watson’s family members attended the presentation, including her daughter Arceolla Fields.

The grant will be utilized to implement key improvements at Lovie Watson Park, which includes installing new equipment and establishing a tobacco-free policy within the facility.

“As city officials, we understand that our position provides a significant opportunity to assist community members in leading healthier lives,” City Manager Randy Frazer said. “We are committed to taking steps toward providing the healthiest possible environment in our community. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Healthy Pathways Grant will provide us with that opportunity.”

The Pathways initiative, known as Pathways to a Healthy Kansas, is the largest community grant initiative ever funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the news release said. It combines community-wide, evidence-based solutions and practices to help Kansas communities improve active living, healthy eating, and tobacco prevention.

“The initiative provides community coalitions the tools and resources to engage their communities and remove barriers to healthy living,” the city added.