contributing writer Kelly Bell

            The Longview Parks and Recreation Department is seeking votes from local residents in an online balloting that could win a grant for expansion and improvements to Teague Park. With April being Earth Month the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is working in cooperation with the Walt Disney Company (including Disney Citizenship, Disney ABC Television Group and ESPN) to achieve a third straight year of park improvements across the nation. The city receiving the most nominations will be awarded $20,000 to finance improvements to a local park.

            Public parks are a traditional means of improving cities’ quality of life. They provide an essential element of civic health and well-being by providing safe locations for healthy activities and enjoying nature in a city setting. This is why Longview residents have till April 30 to nominate their city for this financial boost to the facilities, upkeep and overall allure of Teague Park.

            To cast their ballots Longview’s people should visit NRPA.org/BeInspired, where they can nominate the city once daily all month. Also, those who nominate the city will be automatically entered in a drawing for a tablet designed for outdoor use. City of Longview Parks and Recreation Director Scott Caron has high expectations for the voting and its positive results.

            “This is an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Longview to be directly involved with promoting our city on the national level and secure $20,000 to improve a park,” he said.

            He is not alone in this lofty expectation.

            “Supporting local parks is essential to the health and vitality of communities everywhere,” said NRPA Director of Conservation Lori Robertson. “That is why we are proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company to help fund critical park improvement projects in communities in need. We encourage everyone to join us in giving back to the places that shape so much of our lives by voting in this year’s “Meet Me at the Park” campaign.”

            Throughout April viewers of the Disney Channel will see advertisements that will also air on ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliated stations, Freeform, Disney XD, Disney Junior, ABC app and additional digital platforms. The public service announcement covering this event will also be available on the voting site.  Radio Disney will also broadcast an on-air radio spot.

            Earth Month gives all Longview residents the opportunity to show the whole country how much they love their city and its parks. All are encouraged to invite their friends to vote by taking a selfie in Teague Park and using the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark, #Parkies and #BeInspired.

            The Longview Parks and Recreation Department provides the city with more than 30 parks, trails and open spaces. Community involvement and volunteering are always blessings to maintaining high standards for these public places. For more information please visit LongviewTexas.gov/Parks or call (903) 237-1270.

            The National Recreation and Park Association is a nationwide non-profit organization whose mission is to insure all Americans have access to clean, well-maintained and safe civic parks for health, conservation and social equity. The NRPA accomplishes this via its network of nearly 60,000 park professionals and advocates who encourage the pursuit of health, active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and overall enjoyable access to parks and public spaces. For additional information please read the NRPA flagship publication Parks and Recreation.