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Sixteen years after it was created, the Grovemont Park playground is showing signs of age. Now, the thousands of children and parents who have used it and the surrounding park over the years have an opportunity to return the love.

Volunteers are needed this week and next to dig out and replace the protective mulch and to make other repairs and improvements. Volunteers will spread 200 cubic yards - two tractor-trailer loads - of new mulch. They’ll also build timber planting beds, restore (and build) walking paths, remove graffiti and more. Additional funding and donations of materials are also needed, along with ready-to-eat food for hungry volunteers.

Shifts from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. are Wednesday-Saturday March 1-4, Wednesday March 8, and Saturday March 11. Sign up at grovemontpark.org.

“We hope to involve as many people as possible in this project. It lightens the load and helps to increase connections between community members,” said Dayna Ferguson, project co-coordinator.

“The time has come to refresh this much-loved jewel of the Swannanoa Community,” Doug Lebbon, volunteer chairman of the Swannanoa Community Council, said.

The playground next to the Swannanoa Library was built in 2000 through a big fundraising and volunteer labor effort that involved scores of Swannanoa Valley residents. The project was coordinated by two local non-profits, the Friends of the Swannanoa Library, and the Swannanoa Community Council.

Members of Black Mountain-based Boy Scout Troop 42 have been involved in the planning for the playground overhaul, and on Feb. 18, they participated in the first official workday (photos are available on GrovemontPark.org website).

“The Scouts were a terrific help on the project,” Bill Bauman, longtime volunteer member of the Friends of the Swannanoa Library and worksite supervisor said. “Their energy and work ethic were very impressive.”

Families, businesses, churches and civic organizations are also invited to go to the website to volunteer or make in-kind contributions of materials, food or whatever.

Monetary donations may be made the website's donation page or by sending a check to the Swannanoa Community Council, PO Box 1008, Swannanoa, NC 28778.

A $4,566 grant from Buncombe County Parks & Recreation Department will help with some of the expenses, but more funding, materials, planning and labor are needed.

For more about the project, visit the webpage or call the Swannanoa Library at (828) 250-6486.

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