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Workers help put together playground equipment for the Church Park playground in Hernando.  

Youngsters in Hernando are about to enjoy their outdoor play time on some brand new equipment at the city’s Church Park. That’s thanks in large measure to the work of the city’s Young Women’s Club. 

Thousands of dollars have been raised by the club through a fundraiser Heather Crain of the group said has been going on for number of years.

“We started about four years ago with a fundraiser we called ‘Spring Into Art’ and all of the money raised and sponsorships went toward the project we called, ‘The Beautification of Church Park,’” Crain explained. “For three years, all of the money that we raised have gone towards the park, with a new bathroom facility with the first year’s fundraiser. Then, with the second year’s fundraiser, we built the new pavilion and with our third year, we decided to go ahead and add new playground equipment, a climbing wall and add to the facility. We also got some new signage and new tables that are going to be underneath the pavilion. The Hernando Women’s Club donated three benches for the park.”

Crain added the total amount of money raised for the park project has come to about $100,000. She said the club, while young in name, has been part of the community for many years as a social group.

But, helping make civic improvements has become the club’s mission in the past few years, Crain said.

“About 10 years ago, we decided to work a little bit more toward civic opportunities in town,” she explained. “Everyone would drive by that park and it was right in the center of town, so anyone driving toward the Square would have to drive by there. We just really thought that with some improvements it could really be a gem and such a great little park for younger children.”

City officials have welcomed the interest in the Church Park project and what it has meant to the Hernando community.

“We appreciate the Young Women’s Club for continuing to support the city through projects that beautify our community,” said Mayor Tom Ferguson.

“The enhancements to the pavilion in 2018 and the new playground equipment this year have been a remarkable addition for families with young children,” added City Development Director Gia Matheny.

With the improvements, the park becomes enclosed with the tennis courts adjacent to it.

Crain wants the city to know the Young Women’s Club is not done injecting its efforts toward other Hernando needs.

“When we sent out our fundraiser packets this year, we wanted people to realize that we were going to complete our Church Park project, but that we wanted to expand our efforts to include other beautification of Hernando projects,” Crain said. “We want to continue to focus on humanitarian efforts in the community.”

Parks and Recreation Director Dewayne Williams also expressed his thanks for the Church Park improvements and the club’s desire to get involved.

“The enhancements they made to this park has created a great experience for the many families that have visited Church Park,” Williams said. “This is a another example of the Hernando Parks Department amalgamating a shared mission with citizens to improve the quality of life of people in Hernando."

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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