MASARYKTOWN — In April, the board of directors of the community center here decided it was time to fix up Lincoln Playground, a drawing point for children and families in this hamlet south of Brooksville.
Visitors to the center noticed the deterioration of the playground across the street. Weeds and overgrown grass, coupled with weather-beaten and balky equipment seemed to scream: Stay away, don't come here to play.
To raise money for improvements and additions, the directors decided to sponsor a mystery dinner theater production. The production attracted a big crowd, and hopes were high that the improvements could be financed.
Then, the activities committee looked at prices of playground equipment and gulped.
They considered building the equipment themselves, but after reviewing the numerous safety regulations, they decided to swallow hard and buy ready-made.
"We were able to buy six (replacement) swings at $300 to $400 apiece," said the community's treasurer, Becky Evans. Two baby bucket swings were added.
Youngsters as well as adults dipped into paint purchased by the center's playground fund and freshened the basketball court and hoops.
A dog park was tidied of encroaching vegetation; mulch was laid for walking trail. "It's kind of cute," Evans said.
Volunteers cleared the debris away from a tennis court, but they decided to forgo buying a new net. Previous nets were continually stolen, she said. "Kids (now) use it as a skate park," she said.
Next, the center wants to buy see-saws, which run about $600 each, Evans said.
"That'll come," she predicted. A bar to hold the teeter-totter boards is in place.
"We have a little cash but we're at a point where you have to stand still until you get some more funds," she explained.
Another fundraising theater production is tentatively planned for late spring, "before the snowbirds leave," Evans said.
Every age group takes advantage of the park, "infants to young adults, guys (age) teens to 20s," she noted. "Guys will go and play basketball every day after work."
The revitalized park is a huge improvement, even if not as much has been accomplished as the organizers had hoped, Evans said.
"We'll just keep plugging along," she added.
Beth Gray can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.