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Pembroke seeks $25,000 playground grant
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The city of Pembroke is looking to get a grant for playground equipment to go in the old playground spot, shown here behind the original swing set. - photo by Photo by Paul Floecker

How to vote
To vote for Pembroke to receive a State Farm grant toward a new public playground, visit Each person can vote as many as 10 times per day. Voting ends Wednesday.

With a few computer clicks a day, the community could help the city of Pembroke obtain new playground equipment.

Pembroke is a finalist for a $25,000 grant through State Farm insurance company’s Neighborhood Assist program. The city would put the money toward buying and installing a new playground for its recreation area on Lanier Street.

“We don’t have any playground equipment in the city that’s for public use,” said Pembroke City Councilwoman Tiffany Walraven, who chairs the Downtown Development Authority of Pembroke.

Pembroke is one of 200 finalists for the 40 grants that will be awarded. The winners will be determined by online voting through Wednesday.

Anyone can vote up to 10 times per day at Pembroke’s community playground project has been ranking between Nos. 17 and 22 each day since the voting began, according to Walraven.

“We don’t want to lose that momentum of getting those votes in,” said Bryan County 4-H Agent Trish West, who teamed with Walraven to submit the grant application.

The $25,000 grant would be added to approximately $10,000 the city has received in contributions designated specifically for recreation, according to Walraven. The city will continue to seek other corporate and community donations toward the total project cost of about $60,000, she added.

“We have such a small budget, it would take a very, very long time if we had to count on our budget,” said Mandy Toole, the city’s recreation director. “To know $25,000 could be taken care of in one swoop would make it more attainable.”

For years, Pembroke had a playground on Lanier Street behind the J. Dixie Harn Community Center. However, the city’s only public playground was shut down last year and eventually dismantled after safety concerns arose about the aging equipment, which was run-down beyond repair.

“You don’t realize how many people in the community use the playground until it’s gone,” Toole said.

A new playground would be assembled on the same spot where the old one stood — between the city’s swimming pool, softball field and skate park. It’s now just an empty patch of sand, with two nearby swing sets as the only sign a playground had been there.

“It’s sitting there ready for a new playground,” Toole said.

While older kids have the skate park to enjoy, West said, younger children don’t have that same type of recreational opportunity with the playground gone. The playground the city is seeking would be suitable for ages 5-12, according to Toole.

A new playground also would give children a safe place to play away from street traffic, particularly the “five points” area — the well-traveled intersections of highways 280 East and West, 119 North and South and 67.

“There just isn’t anything for the younger children,” West said. “There’s not a park that they can go to and play.”
State Farm will officially announce the 40 grant recipients on June 16, Walraven said. Visitors to the online voting site can view the current leaderboard.

Once the city has sufficient funding to order the playground equipment, it can be in use in approximately
45 days, Toole said — about 30 days for shipping, followed by roughly 15 more to erect it. The new playground would have an expected usage of at least 15 years, she added.

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