05/14/12 — Leadership Wayne helps bring city park up to standard

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Leadership Wayne helps bring city park up to standard

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on May 14, 2012 1:46 PM

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Members of the 2011-12 class of Leadership Wayne County pose in front of the kiosk and playground material they donated as part of their class project this year. The donation of engineered wooden chips to the Herman Park playground area saved the city's Parks and Recreation Department $11,000 as federal regulations kicked in this spring requiring new playground surfaces.

Thomas Pate reached down to the playground mulch and gathers some in his hands while Charlie Ivey spoke from a podium.

Ivey was dedicating the mulch and kiosk the Leadership Wayne class of 2011-12 worked to donate to the Goldsboro's Parks and Recreation Department, but Thomas, 3, didn't much care as he tossed a handful of the wooden chips out of the play area and into the grass.

Later, though, Ivey said the money the group saved the city, the messages the kiosk would display, and the credit for who did the work mattered little -- so long as Thomas was having fun.

"The day we opened we had 300 kids from schools all over," he said. "That tells you the value of it and it can't be measured."

Perhaps not, but Parks and Recreation Director Scott Barnard can still ballpark it.

Barnard said the donations meant a direct value of $11,000 to the city, just as new disability guidelines kicked in requiring more inclusive play surfaces, like the engineered wooden shavings that now grace the playground.

On top of that, the department was able to consolidate its equipment as part of the project, keeping children away from the road and more in sight of parents.

Parks Superintendent John Albert suggested the idea during a brainstorming session and the group seized the opportunity, holding a pair of raffles that raised $8,000 together and seeking private donations for the rest of the funds.

And the impact on the park?

"It's huge," Barnard said. "Just drive by here and it's packed."