New playground to become a reality

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2018

Harmon Field board approves $50,000 in funding

TRYON — After more than 20 years, area children will soon have a new playground at Harmon Field.

The Harmon Field Board of Supervisors met Tuesday and approved spending $50,000 for a new playground. Estimates for the project are $70,000, with the Dallara Project donating the final $20,000.

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Tryon Town Manager Zach Ollis went over the new budget, after the town discovered Harmon Field had $109,627 in funds it did not know about.

Drawing for the older children playground

Ollis said Harmon Field’s budget is $179,500, and gave the board options of how much of the extra to spend in order to keep some in fund balance, or the rainy day fund.

The board decided to save 8 percent of the extra funding, or approximately $14,000.

The Fans of Harmon Field, a volunteer group that formed to raise money for Harmon Field, specifically the playground, has approximately $15,000, which will be put toward maintenance on the new playground.

Fans of Harmon Field member Jessica Betancourt asked what Harmon Field normally keeps in fund balance.

Ollis said last year’s budget had about $14,000, or 8 percent.

“Your fund balance, what you keep back, is used for all sorts of things,” Ollis said. “It’s money you keep in a savings account in case anything goes wrong. It’s basically the cushion that allows you to operate comfortably.”

Harmon Field Vice Chair and Fans of Harmon Field member Lindy Buss said she would call the playground company Wednesday and get the ball rolling on the new playground.

Drawing for the younger children playground

“This has been such a community effort,” Buss said on the Fans of Harmon Field Facebook page following the meeting. “Thank you so, so much. To every single person who has donated, shared a post, written a letter, attended a meeting, bought a glass of lemonade and everything else. We can not wait to see all the kids playing on their new, safe playground.”

The board also decided to fund an estimated $20,000 in restroom repairs, $8,500 for a new golf cart, $10,000 for a ditch, $1,500 for miscellaneous equipment and $3,000 for open-air gym renovations.

The new playground will be constructed where the current playground is, and will include one for younger children with slides, one for older children with slides, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant swings, ride-on equipment, benches and an ADA-compliant merry-go-round.

The current playground is more than 20 years old and was funded by the Thermal Belt Rotary Club, the Polk County Community Foundation and private donors in 1997.