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Avent Park set for playground face-lift

When the community came together in 1997 and decided they wanted a playground at Avent Park, miracles happened and in one day’s time, the entire playground was built by the parents and grandparents of the children who would spend hours on the new equipment.

Fundraising for the playground started in 1997 and the playground was built in 1998, mostly by community members, young and old.

Now almost 20 years old, some of the children who were the first to try out the new playground visit the park with their own children.

However, the playground is starting to show its age and the Oxford Park Commission is hoping the community comes together once again to revitalize the playground.

OPC Director Seth Gaines said a year-long fundraising campaign will kick off in a couple of months.

“We haven’t set our goal as we’re still getting prices together,” he said. “We need to do some repainting, replace the xylophones, put down more rubber mulch, sand and re-stain the wooden playhouses and beams, and whatever else we feel needs refurbished.”

Gaines said he’s met with some of the original committee members who helped build the playground in 1998 to gain input on what was all involved in getting the community together to build the playground originally.

Based on early projections, Gaines believes it will cost about $50,000 to revitalize the playground.

“We aren’t using money from OPC’s budget to do this,” he said. “It will be a community effort from fundraising to construction.”

Gaines said any amount raised above what is needed to refurbish the park will go into a fund for a future splash pad at Avent Park. “If we raise $65,000 and we need $50,000 for the park, $15,000 will go toward the splash pad,” he said.

Gaines said new equipment could be possible depending on how much money is raised.