In this small community of less than 4,500 residents, it is surprising to see a large playground structure surrounded by towering oak trees, aesthetically arranged native plantings, and outdoor fitness equipment strategically placed for optimum supervision. “At the conception of this playground project, we recognized that the funding would not be coming from local revenue,” says Ramiro Rodriguez, Hendry LaBelle Recreation Director. “I realized that I would need to put a board together that would be deeply connected in the community, and able to use their considerable influence to secure 100% in donor funding.” Mr. Rodriguez’s team did not let him down. In fact, one of the largest donors doesn’t even live in the local community. Elizabeth Bumgarner lives over 13 miles away in Alva, in neighboring Lee County. When asked why she donated such a significant amount of funding for this project, she simply stated, “I wanted children to have a safe place to play, and I believe in paying it forward.”
The Zachary Reyna Playground was also awarded with two designations by PlayCore; a National Demonstration Site for Outdoor Fitness, and for PlayOn! Physical Activity, recognizing the community’s commitment to healthy lifestyles for all residents.