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Cunningham Park playground upgrade moves forward

Joined by a small crew of local residents, Johnson County Community Center director Flo Bellamy (center) poses for a photo upon receiving the long-awaited children’s playground equipment to replace the old, outdated structure at Cunningham Park in Mountain City, TN. Thanks to the efforts and support of the local charity Hometown Service Coalition, the park is getting an unprecedented upgrade for indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy by all ages. Photo by Tamas Mondovics

By Teresa Crowder
Freelance Writer

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Since August 2020, community support has been in full swing, from assisting the Community Service Center to systematically revitalizing the Cunningham Park and its services. And for a good reason. 
Comprehensive well-being for all individuals in the region encompasses all that the Hometown Service Coalition, HSC, is
about and does for Johnson County, Tennessee. The coalition,
born from a casual conversation among friends, has emerged as a forthright instrumental element of change in the community. 
“It is important to us in supporting the community to do what we say we will do and do it in a timely manner,” said John Cunningham, President Board of Directions, Hometown Service Coalition.
The tennis court area adjacent to the Community Center has now been transformed into a multi-use court, allowing the community center to use it for activities like corn hole and the Senior Center can play shuffleboard. Pickleball is a newly added feature for all to enjoy, combining table tennis, badminton, and tennis elements. Pickleball lessons are available, and there is also a Johnson
County Pickleball Group you may wish to join on Facebook.
This week, the Hometown Service Coalition has plans, if the weather cooperates, to have Phase 1 of the new multi-component ADA compliant playground structure installed in the Cunningham Park. ADA compliant equipment is a playground structure that offers a range of play experiences to children of varying abilities. 
This structure will feature handicapped accessible equipment, a first for Johnson County Parks and Recreation. 
When the installation is complete, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will follow to celebrate this milestone.
Efforts will continue as the coalition team will meet to access budget, goal setting, and plan for Phase 2 playground equipment to include additional swing sets and wheelchair-accessible swing set. Grant writing and fundraisers will also resume working on short-term and long-term goals such as baseball field improvements and upgrades to the structures in and around the pool area. 
HSC wishes to continue actively working with our county and city to make progressive, impactful enhancements to the community. 
“We have big goals to expand the community center to include indoor walking trail, indoor pickleball and work to assist travel ball teams with practice areas while working arm in arm with city and county to come up with ideas together,” Cunningham said, adding, “HSC is not just about recreation; we want to be agile enough to step up when needs come up in the community. As we continue to expand services, we will need more volunteers. We ask that folks consider signing up for future volunteer opportunities through HSC.” 
For more information, visit http://www.hometownservice.org/

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