Since 2013, the Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health have partnered through the annual Moda Assist Program, promoting active, healthy lifestyles for youngsters in communities across the state. Now in the program’s eighth year, the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department has been chosen to receive $20 for every assist made by the Blazers during their regular season games this year to build an all-abilities playground at Violet LaPlante Park.
“Violet LaPlante Park is long overdue for new playground equipment to replace the few, very old items there now.” Said Mayor Bruce Jones, “This upgrade will offer a tremendous benefit to local families. I thank the Moda and Trail Blazers organizations for their generosity. I can’t wait to see kids enjoying the new playground equipment!”
Dr. William Johnson, President of Moda Health stated that “Through this trying time during which we all have been reminded of the critical role that access to the outdoors plays in building healthy communities, we’re reminded that playgrounds are key contributors to children’s emotional and physical health. That’s why we are so delighted to continue partnering with Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers on this program that touches lives throughout our state.”
The Astoria Parks and Recreation Department identified LaPlante Park as the best site for use of the funds due to its centralized location for playground amenities for residents in the eastern neighborhoods of Astoria, including Alderbrook, Emerald Heights, and Uppertown. The park has old equipment in need of replacement and ample space to accommodate upgraded, inclusive play structures that will last for a long time.
After the regular season for the Blazers ends on May 22, Moda will notify the Parks Department of the final award amount and Parks staff will begin design and construction planning based on the funds available. Tentative ground-breaking for the project is planned for fall of 2021 and the project is anticipated to be complete by January 2022.