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Texas Health Dallas Helps Fund Playground Project in Vickery Meadows Neighborhood
12/21/2009

DALLAS — The playground at Fair Oaks Park, located in the middle of Dallas County’s most densely populated neighborhood, has sat mostly quiet the last few years. The playground fell into disrepair, and rusty, old playground equipment was hauled away long ago.

New playground
PHorum members, the Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation, and leaders from Texas Health Dallas and the local community recently celebrated the opening of the public playground.

Then the PHorum, a philanthropic organization with the Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, stepped in. The group, which funds improvement projects for the low-income Vickery Meadows neighborhood, saw a new Fair Oaks playground as a way to help the community.

So the group got with the community outreach program at Texas Health Dallas and worked to make the playground dream a reality.

“It just didn’t make sense that in the middle of all these apartment complexes there was basically nowhere for toddlers to safely play,” said Elsa Phelan, director of community outreach at Texas Health Dallas. “As soon as we started looking at the situation, it became very evident that a new playground would do wonders for local children.”

PHorum members, the Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation, and leaders from Texas Health Dallas and the local community recently celebrated the opening of the public playground — the only outdoor recreation area in Vickery Meadows. The area, located southeast of the Texas Health Dallas campus, is one of most densely populated neighborhoods in North Texas. More than 35,000 residents live in a 2.6-square-mile radius.

The new play structures are for young children and are designed to help them develop gross motor skills and get kids outside and active. The playground will provide children from 2 to 12 years of age with a place to play outside instead of having to play in apartment parking lots or tiny plots of green space near busy streets, Phelan said.

“Vickery Meadows has a higher than average rate of childhood obesity, in part because children have nowhere to go outside and run and play,” she said. “We hope this playground will be a place kids can have fun and be active.”

Ann Margolin and Doug Hawthorne
Dallas City Councilmember Ann Margolin and Texas Health Resources CEO Doug Hawthorne

Doug Hawthorne, CEO of Texas Health Resources, the parent organization of Texas Health Dallas, was in attendance along with Dallas City Councilmember Ann Margolin, Frank Nuchereno, chairman of the Vickery Meadow Improvement Corporation, Dave Strueber with the City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department and Greg Johnson of The PHorum.

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 866-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/dallas.

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