New playground in sight

Published 8:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

Harmon Field could use $50K toward new equipment

TRYON — Harmon Field could soon have a new playground, as its board of supervisors came to a consensus to give $50,000 toward new equipment.

The Harmon Field Board of Supervisors met Tuesday for a work session to discuss how to allocate $109,626 in unassigned fund balance the board recently found out it had. Of the total, $65,000 was owed to Harmon Field from the town of Tryon.

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“We’ve been talking about this playground for a long time,” said Harmon Field Board Chairman Benny Smith. “It’s time to do something about it.”

The Harmon Field cabin was nearly full of residents Tuesday, who were curious what the Harmon Field Board of Supervisors would discuss about funding for a new playground. The board is looking at placing $50,000 for a new playground. (Photo by Leah Justice/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

The Harmon Field cabin was nearly full of residents in attendance, most interested in what the board was going to do about the playground, which many in the community have said has deteriorated to the point of injuring children.

Six-year-old ScottLynn Whiteside approached the board, saying she wanted a safe and fun playground. She added that the bathrooms were “gross,” needed to be cleaned up and could use  better lights.

Donis Schweizer said she is concerned about the safety of the playground.

“Kids get hurt all the time on it,” Schweizer said.

Kendal Stoney said she and her family moved to the area two years ago, and though the playground was not great then, it was certainly not in the shape it is now. She said her family goes to other parks now even though they live right behind Harmon Field, “and that shouldn’t happen.”

Jessica Betancourt said her concerns have been stated before, and wanted to know what the purpose of Tuesday’s meeting was.

Smith said the board got money they did not know they had and, before spending it, the board needs to prioritize how the funds will be spent.

He said the board is taking concerns from the public, and will decide how to spend the money.

The board allowed public comments Tuesday, but was not required to in a work session. Boards cannot take votes during work sessions.

“This is taxpayer money that we got,” Smith said. “This board has got to represent the taxpayers.”

The board came to a consensus to use $50,000 in fund balance for a new playground and $20,000 from the Fans of Harmon Field, which is being donated by the Dallara Project. Of the donation, $5,000 has already been granted, and the Dallara Project has agreed to give another $15,000 by Dec. 1.

Estimates for the playground to be replaced at the same location are $70,000.

Harmon Field Supervisor Travis Aldred proposed four other projects to be done with the extra funding. He said a ditch needs to be piped in, estimated at $10,000; a new golf cart is needed, which is estimated at $8,700; two new weed eaters and a blower are estimated at $1,100; and bathroom repairs are estimated between $10,000 and $20,000.

Aldred said the cost will not be known on restroom repairs until a plumber finds out what is behind the wall.  Other restroom needs are two toilets that need to be replaced, which Aldred estimated at $400.

On the playground, Harmon Field Vice Chair and Fans of Harmon Field member Lindy Buss recommended that the estimated $15,000 to $20,000 in Fans of Harmon Field fundraising be used for maintenance of the new playground.

“If we spend all the money, then there’s no money left to maintain it, and we’re back in the situation we’re in,” Buss said.

She also said she thinks there is enough community involvement to tear down the current playground, and that Henson’s has already agreed to donate the first round of mulch at the new playground.

The board said they hope to officially allocate the money to the projects during its next meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2, at Tryon Town Hall.