David Carnes Park
A new BlueCross Healthy Place in the Whitehaven community of Memphis, Tennessee, opened in the summer of 2019. The nine-acre community greenspace was transformed with GameTime play and fitness amenities for people of all ages and abilities, including two playgrounds, a splash pad, Challenge CourseA(R) and other outdoor fitness equipment, walking trails and a community pavilion. It was renamed BlueCross Healthy Place at David Carnes Park. The year-long project with a budget of $5.4 million was made possible by funding from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.
During the community planning meetings, the play equipment manufacturer learned from local historians the park was originally named for Memphis' first African-American landowner - a blacksmith named David Carnes. It was also learned from members of the Carnes family, who still live in Memphis, the park used to be the Carnes family homeplace. It was once filled with acres of fruit trees and the sound of the nearby blacksmith forge. To honor Mr. Carnes, the playground equipment manufacturer created a historical marker that serves as an imaginative play area. The custom-designed blacksmith shop includes a plaque so future generations will learn about David Carnes and the Whitehaven community. Located near the David Carnes historical marker is a large covered pavilion with a dozen picnic tables, which was a piece of the park that was requested by the community members.
In his remarks at a ribbon-cutting in August, Memphis mayor Jim Strickland said, "It's a great day for Whitehaven. This place is a total transformation of David Carnes Park. An asset like this will be invaluable to this community."
As seen in LASN magazine, January 2020.