Larry Di Giovanni/News Trisha Moreland and Brenda Ferenbaugh, both Brinkhaven Village councilmembers who also belong on the playground committee, stand amid outdated playground equipment at the site of the old schoolhouse. All-new playground equipment is scheduled to be installed later this summer.

Larry Di Giovanni/News
Trisha Moreland and Brenda Ferenbaugh, both Brinkhaven Village councilmembers who also belong on the playground committee, stand amid outdated playground equipment at the site of the old schoolhouse. All-new playground equipment is scheduled to be installed later this summer.

BRINKHAVEN — This little village about four miles east of Danville has gone by several names going back more than a century — Nonpareil, Mount Holly, Gann, and then Brinkhaven, said lifelong resident Brenda Ferenbaugh. But one thing has remained consistent, and that is how much a playground can mean to a community.

Ferenbaugh is a Brinkhaven Village councilmember, as is Trisha Moreland. Moreland, along with Ferenbaugh’s assistance, took it upon herself to lead an effort to build a new playground where the old one currently stands at the corner of Pine and Main streets. It is the site of the old schoolhouse, with the former Methodist Church, now a privately owned home, next door. Moreland and Ferenbaugh form part of the Brinkhaven Playground Committee, which also includes Bobbi Banbury and Kim Hawk.

The committee, for about the past two years, has been raising funds to build a new playground in the 80-by-60-foot grassy area where the old playground seems intent on being laid to rest and replaced with newer equipment.

And what new playground equipment it will be, Moreland said. Through donations and community contributions, including $20,000 from the Knox County Foundation, the planned new playground has received more than $74,000 in donations. KCF has served as a receptor for those wishing to make online contributions. Steve Oster, superintendent of the Knox County Board of Development Disabilities, has offered project support because the playground is badly needed in the Brinkhaven area and will accommodate those with disabilities.

“This playground project means a lot to a lot of people,” Moreland said. “Kids learn through play.”

Nearby, just about a quarter-mile away if that, is Brinkhaven Park, located along the Mohican River. The Knox County Park District plans to remove the park’s old playground equipment and baseball backstop. That would leave the forthcoming new project, Toots Playground, as the only playground for the community’s children.

The playground equipment was ordered and should be arriving over the next few weeks, Moreland said. And if all goes well the playground can be constructed in July, still in time for up to 100 children at a time enjoying its features for at least part of the summer. The playground equipment company said it would cost $16,000 for its workers to construct the playground, which is a bit beyond the committee’s budget. So Moreland said the committee is reaching out to those with the knowledge of large playground set up to lend a helping hand.

And what a playground it will be, Moreland said. Project design shows that the park will feature multiple slides, several climber rope challenges, a rumble deck, tri-ring hub, revolution orbit wheel, access ladders, wave boardwalk and two big features — a new swing set and merry-go-round.

The merry-go-round is one where children are seated inside. It’s not like the merry-go-round of the old style, where children turned the wheel so fast to try to get other children to fall off. This one will feature safety.

“My hope is it has seat belts,” Moreland said.

The new playground will be named Toots Playground, in honor of Lohman “Toots” Lodgston, who was the village mayor from 1958 to 1964. He cared for his community so much that he purchased the old schoolhouse property so the community could own it and build a playground in later years.

“When I was a little girl, the only things here were three teeter-totters, the swing set and the merry-go-round. That was it,” said Ferenbaugh, whose home is located near the old school.

Those who wish to consider donating funds or work toward the project may contact Moreland by email at trishmoreland70@gmail.com.

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Larry Di Giovanni: 740-397-5333 or larry@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews

 

 

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