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Clippers Surprise Students At Re-Opening Of Refurbished Long Beach Park

LONG BEACH (CBSLA.COM) — Clipper stars Blake Griffin, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley and Matt Barnes provided a surprise for a number of local students Tuesday with an appearance at the re-opening of a newly refurbished basketball court located at Coolidge Park in Long Beach.

The basketball court, along with other upgraded, were funded by the Los Angeles Clippers, the California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente. In addition to the court, the park also got a new Fitness Zone exercise equipment station, funded by Kaiser Permanente's HEAL Zone grant, administered by the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services and the Coalition for a Healthy North Long Beach.

Griffin shared that, when he was younger, he would have loved having a playground like the one unveiled Tuesday.

"The playground I grew up playing on had the metal nets that tore the ball and sometimes you couldn't get it out," Griffin said.

Matt Barnes, meanwhile, called the court's refurbishment a "win-win".

"I think childhood obesity is something that is very common in our society now," Barnes said. "It think it is great when kids can get out, get active and get off the video games and the iPads, and the Internet and really just get out here and do stuff we used to do when we were little."

The Clippers, the California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente were all publicly thanked by Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster.

"We are always grateful when our partners recognize the importance of our parks and help us to improve them," Foster said.

The work performed at Coolidge Park, which is located at 352 E. Neece Street, included resurfacing the basketball court and adding new poles along with new backboards; replacing the playground equipment completely, and replacing much of the sand with a rubber surface.

"These partnerships are helping to make North Long Beach a healthier community in many ways," Councilman Steve Neal, who represents the Ninth District, said. "They also reflect the spirit of our Uptown Renaissance and help move our neighborhoods forward."

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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