Driving by Tom Varn Park you may have noticed a colorful round metal structure and scratched your head in bewilderment. Well the mystery is now solved- that techy piece of equipment is the new addition to the Tom Varn Park playground- complete with a selection of fast paced music and flashing lights to get the little ones excited and ready to move. It’s actually a musical game, the object of which is to tag a light that switches on and off before it goes out. Players earn points with each successful tag. It’s called Neos 360.
The Florida Department of Health in Hernando County, The Junior Service League of Brooksville Inc, and The City of Brooksville proudly announced the official opening of the Neos 360 Interactive Playground at Tom Varn Park in Brooksville, FL. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on September 10, 2018 at Tom Varn Park Playground where The City of Brooksville Parks and Recreation Director Mike Walker cut the ceremonial ribbon. Many families from the community were present for the ceremony as well as several city officials including Mayor Betty Erhard, Vice Mayor Robert “Butch” Battista , Council Members Bill Kemerer, Brent Young, and Joe Bernardini, and City Manager Mark Kutney. Park and Recreation Advisory Board member Ashley Thomas was also in attendance representing the board.
The Neos 360 is a $30,000 interactive playground that provides a way to encompass the best physical endurance through full-body gaming and helps to develop agility, coordination, strength, and stamina. The Department of Health in Hernando County provided $15,000 towards the equipment. The Department of Health was represented during the event by Robin Napier. Napier spoke about how childhood obesity is a great concern for our children, and how the new NEOS 360 Interactive Playground promotes healthy growth and weight, balance, coordination, endurance and use of fine motor skills. Children can improve their social skills while they make friends through play. Napier stated that The City of Brooksville is “putting residents on a path to better physical and mental health.”
The Junior Service League, represented by Alicia Smith and several members of the NSL group, provided $3000 towards the NEOS 360 project. Smith spoke as a representative for The Junior Service League of Brooksville about the JSL’s involvement in several Tom Varn Park projects since the early 1990s, and how the group has provided funding and talents during construction of those projects.
Merritt Funeral Home sponsored the commemorative stone to recognize the day and the sponsors who made this project a reality for the community. During the ceremony, Brooksville Recreation Leader Jennifer Rafieli was also in attendance and provided décor and refreshments for the event.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the children in attendance enjoyed playing with the new NEOS 360 equipment and many said they would be returning very soon to play on the equipment with their friends.