SANANTONIO -- City Council today approved a new program that will turn some elementary school playgrounds into community fitness parks. A southwest side campus is the first to benefit.

At Sky Harbour Elementary, children love to play on the equipment. Soon, they will have a lot more ways to exercise here than climbing walls and slides.

City Council has partnered with San Antonio Sports to launch SPARK parks, a program that beefs up school playgrounds and turns them into fitness parks the whole community can use.

You keep it open past school hours, explained District 4 councilman Rey Saldana. So you essentially provide a public park in an area that has existed over the past, in this case, fifty years except that it s been closed to the public after 3 p.m.

UTSA architectural students will come up with the plans. Students at Sky Harbour have already dreamed dreams, creating their versions of what the revitalized school grounds should look like.

Plans will include sports field and walking trails. Sky Harbour s principal said neighbors n

eed this.

A lot of them don t have the transportation to go out of their neighborhood to go and visit a fitness park or take a walk that would be safe, principal Marina Avila said.

If everything works out as we predict it will, it s going to be a great opportunity and a great launching pad for the City of San Antonio to do more SPARK parks, added Southwest Independent School District superintendent Dr. Lloyd Verstuyft.

SPARK parks is a successful program that started in Houston where more than 200 school playgrounds have been transformed.

The Sky Harbour park should be open this fall.

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