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Grassroots group fundraising to build playground in Basye

A rendering of the playground community members hope to install at the Basye-Orkney Springs Community Library.
Karen Stevens
A rendering of the playground community members hope to install at the public library in Basye.

Basye area residents are raising funds to build a playground outside their public library. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi spoke to one of the organizers and filed this report.

Karen Stevens is a former elementary school teacher from Fairfax County who now lives in the town of Basye in Shenandoah County. One day, she was talking to her neighbor, who volunteers at the local library.

KAREN STEVENS: We were talking about the children's program and how she wanted to get more kids in there, and wouldn't a playground at the library really facilitate bringing more kids in?

They formed a committee to take on this project with the help of the Basye-Bryce Mountain Lions Club, Basye-Orkney Springs Community Library, and the Bryce Legacy Foundation. Members of the grassroots group visited playgrounds from Woodstock to Broadway to get ideas, and started raising money through a pickleball tournament and Barbie-themed photo booth.

The total cost of the project is estimated at about $65,000. Phase one will include slides and a climbing area, fencing, and interactive learning panels. So far they've raised $15,000. If the group can collect another $11,000 by March 27th, they'll get a major discount on playground equipment from the supplier All Recreation, based in Ashburn.

STEVENS: Right now we've gotten some individual donations, we've gotten some business donations. Holtzman made a generous donation to us. We've had individuals make generous donations. … In addition to that, on April 27th we're having a live auction at Bryce Resort – we're soliciting donations for that.

Monetary donations can be made online and via check to the Basye-Bryce Mountain Lions Club Charities, Inc.

Randi B. Hagi first joined the WMRA team in 2019 as a freelance reporter. Her writing and photography have been featured in The Harrisonburg Citizen, where she previously served as the assistant editor; as well as The Mennonite; Mennonite World Review; and Eastern Mennonite University's Crossroads magazine.