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New Kiwanis Park gets cleared for new life

July 10, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Maurice Pennock Memorial Playground is getting a new lease on life.

The playground at Lion's Park at the corner of Lemon and 4th Avenue in St. James City has been there since January 2000. For years, the Lions and Mary VonBurg held raffles and auctions first to build and then maintain the facility.

But when the Lion's disbanded due to lack of membership, the park fell into disrepair. As part of the St. James City Civic Association property, there were safety concerns.

Article Photos

Benches were donated to the Calusa Land Trust for Fritt's Park.


Cindy Bickford, who lives near the playground and has grandchildren who frequently use the facilities, spearheaded the effort to save the playground.

"When I learned that we could lose the playground I decided to do something to try to save it since this playground is the only children's park south of the center," Bickford said.

At a community meeting the Pine Island Kiwanis offered to "take over" the park upon approval from the International Kiwanis. That approval was granted, funds are being raised and the old equipment was recently removed to make room for the new Kiwanis Park.

The Kiwanis Mission Statement is "Kiwanis helps kids around the world. Local clubs look out for our communities and the international organization takes on large-scale challenges, such as fighting disease and poverty. We are generous with our time. We are creative with our ideas. We are passionate about making a difference. And we have fun along the way."



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