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 Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Playground completed at Henry Fork Center
Funds provided by Lions, Rotary clubs and UMM
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Courtesy Photo: Xzavion, a student in Henry Fork Service Center’s afterschool program, joins Ms. Yvonne, one of the teachers at the center, on the swings, which are a part of the center’s recently constructed playground.

Monday, December 16, 2013


The construction of a new playground for the Henry Fork Center is now complete and has received its seal of approval from children and teachers at the center.

"Developing play space behind the new educational building was one of the goals of the Henry Fork Service Center's long range plan," said Lisa Nichols, center director.

Funds for the project were given by the Lions of Virginia Foundation, Rocky Mount Rotary Club, Rotary District 7570, Bethlehem United Methodist Men (UMM) and other individuals.

Once funding was received, men and women from the Smith Mountain Lake Lions Club, Bethlehem United Methodist Men (UMM) and the Rocky Mount Rotary Club began assembling the playground in October.

Holes were dug, swings were installed, borders were assembled, mulch was distributed, and by Nov. 16, the playground was complete.

"Volunteers gave over 350 hours to complete the playground," said Nichols.

Bart Frankena, a board member of the center and member of the UMM, coordinated the project with assistance from Walter Hughes Jr. from the Rocky Mount Rotary Club.

The playground comes complete with climbing structures, slides, swings and other activities for children ages 2 to 12. It will provide recreational space for children in the preschool, afterschool and summer programs at the center.

The playground also provides new play space behind the Pennel Education Building, which was completed in 2006.

Children can also be seen playing in the playhouse provided by an Eagle Scout project.

Henry Fork Service Center is a private, non-profit, religiously-exempt child care center and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Located on Doe Run Road in Rocky Mount, its vision is to "make God's love visible in the Henry Fork community by being a positive Christian presence."

The center offers a preschool for children ages 2 to 4 every weekday morning from 9 a.m. to noon.

The afterschool program provides students in grades pre-K through middle school with opportunities for help with homework, snacks provided by Feeding America Southwest Virginia, Christian education and recreation every weekday afternoon following the Franklin County school schedule. The afterschool program provides services for students from Lee Waid Elementary, Sontag Elementary and Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

Future plans for the center include a walking path, reading space and space for football and soccer," said Nichols.

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