LaVergne looks to community to build long awaited playground - WSMV Channel 4

LaVergne looks to community to build long awaited playground

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LAVERGNE, TN (WSMV) -

It's the largest subdivision in Tennessee with more than 3,000 homes, but not a single playground. Homeowners in the Lake Forest subdivision in LaVergne said they were promised one would be built. Two decades later, there's still no playground, but their dream could soon become a reality.

LaVergne resident Deborah Balthrop said she was raised to believe your word was your bond.

"I will stand by my word, and I will fight for my word," Balthrop said.

But the Lake Forest subdivision homeowner said the builder and developer failed to keep theirs.

"I still dream about that (playground) we were told we're going to have back in Lake Forest almost 20 years ago," Balthrop said.

The promise was for a community playground; the land was even donated. But besides the police substation, two pavilions and a couple of benches, there's just an open field.

"I can envision the playground right now, and all the families and children playing," Balthrop said.

Balthrop's two children were less than 2 years old when she built her home, and now they are grown. She has an 11-month-old granddaughter now, but still no playground.

"We feel we deserve what we were promised all these years ago, and feel like this neighborhood has been neglected," Balthrop added.

There is now a citywide effort for a community-built playground.

"$50,000 is in the budget for this project next year," LaVergne Mayor Senna Mosley said. "We figure by us having those funds, (and) if we can find ways to come up with more money, we can get the playground built."

The long awaited playground will cost $100,000 to $150,000.

City spokeswoman Kathy Tyson came up with the idea for the community-built playground. She made a pitch for help to the Rotary Club of LaVergne Tuesday.

She has been in touch with nonprofits like KaBoom and Leathers Associates, who assist communities with the design and oversight.

City officials said residents have been neglected long enough.

"With 3,000 houses, and If you figure two and a half people per household, at least, you're looking at almost 10,000 people with no playground," Tyson said.

City leaders have already begun recruiting volunteers and hope to have the playground completed by this time next year.

If you would like to sign up to volunteer, you can contact Kathy Tyson at 615-793-6295 or ktyson@lavergnetn.gov.

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