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Making dreams come true

Aug. 17 saw the official dedication and opening of Lions Park on the west end of Farmville. The project was made possible through the hard work, dedication, vision and partnership between a civic club and its members along with government and its leadership and support from the community.

As reported in The Farmville Herald, after four years in the making, the Farmville Lions Club, in partnership with the Town of Farmville, has completed a new playground park at Wilck’s Lake.

According to former Lions Club President Greg Cole, who also represents Ward A on the Farmville Town Council, the club first began discussing the possibility of a playground project in 2015. In 2017 the organization made the decision to create a new playground and began working toward that goal.

The club raised $32,500 through various fundraising activities and applied for and received a matching grant from the Lions of Virginia Foundation.

In the fall of 2018, the Farmville Lions Club gave $65,000 to the town to purchase the needed playground equipment.

During the dedication Cole noted that the motto of the Lions Club is “we serve.” He talked about how the idea of a playground came to be. He said members of the club joined together, formed a committee, and this committee worked with the town to select the equipment. They got a price and then went to work raising the rest of the funds.

He explained, “Once we got the equipment, we had to decide where it was going to go … this is where the town really came in and our town manager, Gerry Spates, and Robin (Atkins), they really worked with the committee.”

Cole went on to say that the committee looked at different places, and for the place it chose, the timing was perfect as the town had just bought the property.

He said, “Mr. Spates said, ‘What if we put it on the new property we just bought at Wilck’s Lake?’”

And so, the town became the third partner.

Robin and his crew put the playground together and put the fence around it.

Cole went on to say, “We hope, as the years go along, we are going to see more things develop in this area for our citizens to enjoy.”

Town Mayor David Whitus also spoke during the dedication. He said that he and Town Manager Spates have a tendency to dream and that they would like to see more things here. He went on to share with the gathered crowd that there is another club that is looking at putting a waterpark at the location, a comment which was met with a loud applause of approval.

Whitus said, “One day I would love to see a multipurpose center, community center on the front of this property where people can have events, family reunions, meetings … develop the west end of town.”

Whitus recalled a roundtable meeting several years ago where he shared with the group, “Any strong, progressive, growing town has to have strong civic organizations.”

He then addressed the crowd: “Ladies and gentlemen that (Lions Park) is proof right there that we have strong civic organizations in our town.”

Making dreams come true is a possibility when you have strong civic organizations, community support and local government working and pulling together — Farmville has shown they have all three. I suspect there is a multipurpose center and waterpark in Lions Park’s future. Here’s to making dreams come true!

BETTY J. RAMSEY is the publisher of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. Her email address is Betty.Ramsey@FarmvilleHerald.com.