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Brooksville playground shows community caring

Like The Little Engine That Could, members of the Brooksville JuniorService League have taken the philosophy, "I think I can, I think I can," and are doing it.

In just 13 months, League members have persuaded Brooksville officials to reserve them a section of Tom Varn Park, brought the nationally recognized architectural firm of Robert S. Leathers to town to turn the fantasies of local children into well-designed, sturdy play equipment and raised $45,000 toward the $50,000 they need to buy materials to build a 10,000-square-foot playground.

All that's left is to have one more fund-raiser and - most important of all - to recruit 400 volunteer workers for each day from March 14 to 18 to put it all together.

By day's end March 18, League members fully expect the new Brooksville Community Playground to be the latest of more than 400 such playgrounds built across the United States during the last 20 years.

When completed, it not only will be a memorial to the hard work and perseverance of League members, it also will be a reflection of community caring.

When people traveling on State Road 50 view this super playground, they will know that this is a community that cares about its children and, therefore, about its schools and future.

Even though the funds are pretty well in place, the plans drawn and the materials lined up, it all will be for naught unless residents are willing to donate the equivalent of 2,000 days of work (400 daily volunteers times five work days).

The project needs skilled crafts workers to wield saws and hammers, of course. But there also is need for strong backs and willing hands to carry, dig, move and clean up as work progresses. People not up to lifting logs or stringing chains can do their part serving meals, relaying messages or caring for the children of workers.

Volunteers also are asked to bring home-cooked casseroles, salads and desserts to keep up the energies of all the workers, organizers say. The 8 a.m. to noon shift gets lunch and the 12:30 to 5 p.m. and 5:30 to 9 p.m. shifts get dinner.

Some people have compared the intense five-day building sessions to old-fashioned barn-raisings. It must be an all-out community effort to succeed.

Sharon Taylor, president of the Service League, is confident that

volunteers will come out on weekend days, but she is concerned that workers will be scarce for the first three crucial weekdays.

This looks like the perfect opportunity for retirees - skilled and

unskilled - to transform their enthusiasm for community into a worthy project.

Those who call 799-6393 to volunteer will be sent a booklet of

instructions. Insurance will be provided, but workers need to bring their own work gloves and perhaps a hammer or saw.