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Sprite, a brand of The Coca-Cola Co., announced that 21 basketball courts nationwide will be refreshed during the first phase of its Sprite Spark Parks Project. Fans voted online for grants of $35,000 and $20,000 to rejuvenate and transform local parks.
“Our goal with the Sprite Spark Parks Project is to ensure that communities all over the country have safe and fun places where people can get active and play,” said Augusto Elias, Sprite brand director for Coca-Cola North America, in a statement. “Teaming up with local residents and officials to support their home parks is a rewarding way to encourage active fun!”
Renovation of the winning courts could begin as soon as this summer, the company says. Funding from the Sprite Spark Parks Project will provide new rims, backboards, court resurfacing, lights, benches and art installations as determined by the park manager.
The top vote recipient in each of the program’s seven regions will receive a $35,000 refurbishment grant, while 14 additional winning courts will receive $20,000 each.
The Sprite Spark Parks Project is a multi-phase program to build and restore recreation environments where community members can get outside and enjoy fitness activities, the company says. In February, Sprite partnered with professional basketball player LeBron James to kick off the first phase of the program, which focuses on improving basketball courts.
“I know first-hand just how important it is for youth to have a neighborhood basketball park where they can play ball early in life,” James said, in a statement. “The Sprite Spark Parks Project is a great way to give young athletes the chance to be active and make their basketball dreams a reality by providing them with a fresh place to play the game.
In the program’s second phase, Sprite helped restore outdoor parks and community spaces across America by collaborating with Habitat for Humanity International. Families participated by collecting and mailing in green tabs from specially marked Sprite and Sprite Zero cans. For every green Sprite tab redeemed, the brand donated $0.10 cents to Habitat for Humanity with a guaranteed donation of $250,000 and a maximum of $500,000.
In the third and final phase of the 2011 Sprite Spark Parks Project, which will launch in the middle of this month, Sprite will give schools a chance to win a playground or athletic field renovation. People can submit My Coke Rewards codes found on Sprite and Sprite Zero Fridge Packs and 2-liter products to redeem points for the schools they designate.
Through the Sprite Spark Parks Project, Sprite will invest approximately $2 million into building or revamping basketball courts, community spaces, playgrounds and athletic fields across the country in 2011. The company estimates the program will provide 1 million young people with greater access to recreational spaces.