A citizen’s group of about 15 people – the Lynchburg Clay softball girls teams of about 20 children and parents, and several members of the Highland County Habitat for Humanity through their Brush with Kindness Program – commenced a Clean-Up Day at the Buford Community Park on March 3.
The park had been neglected for approximately 20 years and was in desperate need of repairs and beautification.
The Buford School has a long history dating back to the early 1900s when it was a special school district. In 1926, a charter for a first grade high school was obtained. Forty years later, in 1966 Buford (Clay Township) and Lynchburg consolidated to form the Lynchburg-Clay School District. The school remained open as an elementary school for many more year until it closed and Buford elementary students were merged with the Lynchburg schools.
Over the years, school children played softball and baseball games on the ball fields, not to mention the swings, teeter totters, merry-go-round, basketball court, and long slide that provided a safe haven for school kids during recess and after school activities.
In an effort to salvage the Buford ball field and a small portion of school history, the softball teams, Habitat, and a citizens’ group teamed up to bring the Buford Park back to life. The goal is for the Lynchburg softball teams (5-under to 14-under) to play regular season and tournament games at the park.
Through a GoFundMe page, the citizens’ group raised $650 to assist with the rebuilding the dugouts. In addition to these financial contributions and nearly 40 volunteers donating time to date, the following businesses have been instrumental with assisting with electrical materials, lumber for the dugouts, clean up day materials, paint and painting supplies, and mulch: Bob R Properties, Highland County Habitat for Humanity, Higgins, Lowe’s, R+L Carriers, Sherwin Williams and Wells Group.
Last weekend construction on the dugouts was completed. In the coming weeks (date to be announced based on weather), volunteers will be painting the bleachers and concession stand.
Although signifiant progress has been made, the park still needs new basketball poles/boards, swings, a slide for the existing jungle gym (the current one is damaged), and trees and bushes for landscaping in which the citizens’ group is looking to the community for help by volunteering time or money toward the remaining projects.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to this project, visit the GoFundMe page. To volunteer, contact the coordinator Traci Massey at 937-205-5059.
Submitted by Elishia Breetz on behalf of Highland County Habitat for Humanity.