Valley City Park reborn: JVC dedicates playground to educators

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2023

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The Junior Variety Club announced the dedication of the renovated Valley City Park on Saturday. 

Children from the community took to the new playground equipment with glee as the club unveiled the dedication sign to the educators of the county.

“There are many amazing educators in our county, and they’re the ones that are shaping the next generations … We are truly blessed to have some of the best in Chambers County, and that is why we have chosen to dedicate this to the educators of Chambers County,” said  Ansley Emfinger, JVC member and Chambers County Development Authority project manager.

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The park has several new pieces of equipment for children. The Junior League of Chattahoochee Valley sponsored the purchase of a spinner, which is an inclusive play piece. 

“It’s high and allows for easy wheelchair transfer, and it’s a great piece for children that have sensory needs,” said Junior Variety Club president Kristin Nelson. “So that was our first piece that went in, and it is probably the greatest piece that we have at this play side of this park.”

The club will also be placing circuit equipment consisting of three pieces into the park. The circuit will be for exercise and agility training for all ages. 

“We’re excited to put that in place,” Nelson said. “So not only can kids come and play and be a part of this wonderful playground, but we also have exercise equipment that parents can enjoy while they’re here with their kids.”

The JVC is still accepting sponsorships to complete the purchase of the remaining three circuit pieces and their installation. 

The six-year-long project has raised over $30,000 in sponsorships for the new equipment, excluding the renovations and man-hours put in by the city of Valley. The city also purchased picnic tables, benches and a pavilion. They also installed rubber mulching and the borders to ensure the playground’s “fall space” met requirements. 

“There’s not a day that I’ve had passed by that there’s not someone down here using this park, and that was not so before we started doing the improvements,” said County Commissioner Debra Riley. “So I’m just thankful for all these young women not only on this project but just for being a part of our community. You represent us very well.”

The project began in 2018 when the JVC was looking for a project to benefit the community.

“At the time, most of the club members had very small children, and we desired a location in Chambers County that was a fun, inclusive, safe place for our children of all ages to play and enjoy the outdoors,” Nelson said. 

The JVC met with Riley and Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Blount. The city took the initiative to remove outdated equipment, remove dead trees and replace parts of the sidewalk.

“Not only were they on board, but they were willing to lock arms with us for the duration of this project,” Nelson said.

During the pandemic, the project was put on hold. In 2021, JVC gained traction and was able to purchase red and green tree climbers for the park. In late 2021, County Commissioner Debra Riley encouraged the JVC to apply for a grant with the Coosa Valley RCMD. The project was awarded a grant that helped them purchase three pieces for the circuit course. 

“You come up and you hear kids laughing and playing and having a good time,” said JVC member Macy Whorton. “Our community is growing, and that’s what we’re here for. We want to do whatever we can to help be a part of that. So none of this would have been possible without our sponsors, and to them, we will forever be grateful.”

Top sponsors include the Charter Foundation, Terrence Brown, Attorney at Law, Chattahoochee Federal Credit Union, Knauf Insulation, Walton Law Firm and Wood Family Eye Care. 

Other sponsors who contributed were Fairfax Drug, Auburn Bank, Ponder’s Nursery, Coca-Cola Bottling, Johnson Brown Funeral Service, Grossman Law, Givorns, 4 Seasons Heating and Air, Kenny Knox Tire, JC Colley Trucking, West End Baptist Church, Capital City Bank, Custom Machine and Fabrication and Daniel’s Drive-Inn.