Local moms form Fans of Harmon Field to build new playground

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

TRYON – A group of local moms recently decided to band together to raise money to build a new playground at Harmon Field.

Their group, Fans of Harmon Field, is a nonprofit organization and currently includes members Lindy Buss, Lindsay Lewis, Jessica Betancourt, Jen Grubbs and Jessica Greve.

The group is working towards a fundraising goal of $85,000 through grants, fundraisers and donations to build a brand new playground for area children.

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“Our goal is to provide a family friendly play space with quality playground equipment as well as to ensure its safety and maintenance for years to come,” said Buss.

A former fundraising group for Harmon Field, the Friends of Harmon Field, which was formed in 2007 with 50 members, voted to disband in 2012 after struggling to keep members. The Fans of Harmon Field will function in the same way, working to fundraise for special projects.

Children at the Harmon Field playground a couple of years ago when concerns were raised over the aged equipment. (photo by Lindy Buss)

In 2015, Buss brought concerns to Harmon Field about dangerous aspects of the now 20-year old playground equipment, with the Harmon Field Board of Supervisors working to get the issues repaired at the time.

The Thermal Belt Rotary Club, with funding from the Polk County Community Foundation and several private donors, installed the current playground in 1997.

“I know what an asset Harmon Field is to the community,” said Lewis, “and what it means to the people who live here. It pains me to see the playground falling apart. I chose to be on this board because I believe that investing in Harmon Field park will only better our community.”

Greve said seeing the decline of the playground over the years has been heartbreaking.

“Upon attending meetings and gathering information, we decided as a group to take on this project for the children,” Greve said. “We know that with the help and generosity of the community this playground can become a reality.”

Fans of Harmon Field has received two quotes on constructing a new playground and hope to have new equipment in place before the World Equestrian Games, scheduled for September 2018 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

“Since Harmon Field is the main park in Polk County, we hope to have a new playground installed prior to the World Equestrian Games,” Greve said. “There will be so many new visitors to the area and we want to make sure we showcase Tryon in the best possible way.”

Board members say the Town of Tryon has met with them, heard their concerns and been very supportive in their efforts, even offering the use of the “snack shack” to help raise money. New playground equipment is simply not in the Harmon Field budget at this time, board members said.

The new playground planned for Harmon Field will have a more health conscious approach, according to Fans of Harmon Field. The equipment planned will be geared to make children be more active, such as climbing equipment.

Fans of Harmon Field wants to raise enough money to build the playground as well as have extra money for ongoing maintenance to the new playground.

Anyone interested in making a donation or to learn more about Fans of Harmon Field is urged to email fansofharmonfield@gmail.com or mail donations to P.O. Box 891, Tryon, NC 28782.

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