Playground project in need of help

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

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A playground area planned for the county’s youth in Drakes Branch has come a long way from a barren plot of land several years ago to a point where the founder says the facility is close to opening but the pandemic has halted fundraising actives.

“We’re so close to being able to make it usable,” said James Gregory Sr., Founder of the Charlotte County Recreation Association (CCRA).

The CCRA acquired property along Westpoint Stevens Road in Drakes Branch in 2014 and has since been developing Westpoint Park.

Gregory said the park will be built in two phases.

The first phase is a general playground with swings and other equipment.

The second phase involves adding a basketball court.

“In phase one, we have three swing sets and a playset with a slide,” Gregory said. “All that is needed at this point to make the equipment usable is safety materials for cushioning, i.e., (certified wood chips) and the snap together borders to hold the material neatly in place.”

According to Gregory, approximately $20,000 has been invested in this project through a combination of cash, in-kind and equipment donations.

“The project costs are expensive, and it takes more than most realize to bring such project up to public use standards,” Gregory said.

Gregory said there is a constant grounds keeping cost yearly of over $1,000. “This has hampered progress since fundraising projects have pretty much halted during the pandemic, and money has to be constantly spent,” he said.

Gregory said he began the CCRA because he felt that this community needed a playground along with the green space it would provide to help kids stay active, have fun and just be able to enjoy the outdoors.

“We will not give up until the project is done, and yes, it will get it done,” Gregory said. “This is something that I took upon myself to better our community, but it has been a long hard journey.”

Gregory said any fundraising ideas and assistance is welcome.

The organization is also accepting donations.

Donations can also be sent to CCRA, 175 Marshall St., Drakes Branch, VA 23937.