By Nolan Patrick Smith
High Desert Daily
(Adelanto) March 14th marked a milestone day for Adelanto: it was the day of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new George Park, located at the George Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School in Adelanto. City officials, school district officials, office representatives and the residents of the city all came together to celebrate this historic collaboration.
George Park marks the collaboration between the City of Adelanto and the Adelanto School District, a collaboration that came together thanks to the Healthy Adelanto Initiative, as the City of Adelanto’s Mayor Cari Thomas spoke about to High Desert Daily minutes before the ceremony. “This is a long time coming with the joint effort between the city and the Adelanto School District. It’s one of great accomplishment for both the city and the school district for us to come together.
For the school district to deed to land over to the city and for the city to be able to at some point build a park on it is very monumental for the city.
It’s also monumental because a few years ago we created this Healthy Adelanto group and it was an initiative challenged to all the cities in the High Desert. So we worked on that for several years with St. Mary and this is something that came out of that healthy initiative; this joint use agreement that the people from St. Mary’s worked up with both the city and the school district to make this come to be. It’s a huge, momentous occasion for all concerned; the school district, the city and our residents.”
Allen Christensen, Healthy City Coordinator for St. Mary Medical Group, touched on what Healthy Adelanto and High Desert means.“Healthy High Desert is basically a collaborative of trying to bring community partners together to really focus on the real aspect of health; the health portion and well being. We know with the obesity rates and the things going on in our nation, we got to work to make the partnership efforts to move forward.
As with today, a big component of that is to bring the city and school district to not work separately in silence but really to work together and say “you know what? The health of our community, our kids, our businesses are important to us: we need to figure out how we can work together and make that happen.”
Some of the community partners brought together for this initiative includes the St. Mary Medical Group, the Adelanto Chamber of Commerce, the Boys and Girls Club, the Inland Agency, the County of San Bernardino Department of Public Health, the High Desert Mavericks and The California Endowment. Christensen was one of the speakers for the ceremony, as he highlighted the success of the Healthy City Initiatives and how the success came to be. “Many of you might not know, but this was all started in the effort through the San Bernardino County of Public Health, they approached us and wanted to try and work more on a community base to promote health in our community, so we took on that challenge. I’m happy to report today that 16 of the 24 communities in the SanBernardino County have healthy city initiatives, four of them being here in the High Desert, one of them being Healthy Adelanto. I really can’t take the credit for this; this is definitely the city and the school district and those in the community coming together to make this all work out. I’ve just been merely trying to bring those partnerships together and really focus on the aspect of health.”
A check was presented to Healthy Adelanto from two High Desert residents who suffered a terrible loss. In 2007, Matt and IsabelLongsworth lost their 4- year-old son Matthew in a freak accident. To honor their son, the family started to raise funds to build a playground in Victorville as part of their project, Matthew’s Playground.
Various issues prevented that from happening, and eventually they began talking to the City of Adelanto, and about George Park. The Longsworths presented a check for $6,000 to Healthy Adelanto for a top lot playground to be installed at George Park, which will be donated in Matthew’s honor. Matt spoke during the ceremony of his son, Matthew. “Matthew was a charismatic kid, so full of energy. I don’t think there is anything better to immortalize him than a park. I want to thank again the City of Adelanto for allowing us to be involved.”
For more information on Healthy High Desert, including Healthy Adelanto, visit their website at http://healthyhighdesert.com.