Volunteers needed for park project

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Staff Writer

Huge boxes that will, in days, be the delight of area children, were unloaded from an 18-wheeler Tuesday morning and even more is coming.

Those boxes contain the much-anticipated playground equipment for Murphree Park, which is being renovated through fund-raising efforts headed up by the Exchange Club of Troy.

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As employees of the Troy Parks and Recreation Department unloaded large boxes on Tuesday, workers were also shaping the job site, preparing it for installation of pipes.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Dan Smith, who is also a member of the Exchange Club, said an engineer with the playground equipment company will be on hand Thursday to start putting the plans into something visible. On Friday, the poles will go into the ground and volunteers will work in shifts from 7 a.m. until dark over the next few days until every piece of the frontier village is in place.

That’s when the public’s assistance will be needed.

Exchange Club president Ross Jinright said the work schedule will be 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday and Monday through Wednesday. The Saturday schedule will be 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. Workers will have Sunday to rest.

"This is the playground we’ve talked about building and, now, we need the workers," Smith said.

Both said making that deadline won’t be possible without volunteers.

"We’re in desperate need of volunteer workers who are willing to commit some of their time to this project," Smith said.

He said it will take about 50 workers per day to complete the task; however, more will be welcome.

Jinright said members of the club are "excited" about this project and look forward to watching the playground develop before their eyes.

"Construction skills are nice, but not required," Jinright said.

Giffen Recreation of Birmingham created plans for the frontier village theme that includes a play area for children age 6 and under as well as equipment for older children.

The steel and industrial-strength plastic playground equipment and new additions will not be the only things that make the park special. It will also be a community effort of both physical and financial means.

"We want this to be a community-built playground," Smith said. "It means a lot more to the community when they feel they have more ownership."

For those who can’t provide manual labor in the sun, there are still volunteer opportunities.

Churches are being contacted about contributing sandwiches for the volunteers so they can have lunch and get back to work on the playground.

"I feel like everybody is going to come together," Smith said. "This is a time we don’t need to depend on someone else to do it."

Smith said anyone interested in helping with the playground can call the recreation department at 566-4031 or just show up ready to work. He also urged volunteers to recruit more helpers.