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franklin county times

Spruce Pine enjoys addition of community park

Anyone who has been to Spruce Pine in the past couple of months might have noticed a new community space. Privately owned, but open to the public, Madalynn Park is located next to the old store by the museum, which is across from the community center.

The park came about because of an idea Spruce Pine resident Michael Mann had, as well as money, time and effort spent on his part – but he said it was also realized thanks to the additional help of his family and others in the community.

Mann works at the hardware store in Spruce Pine. He’s also building a restaurant, Faelynn’s, in Phil Campbell. In addition, he builds storage units. He explained, as a result, he’s “always on the look for land.”

“I purchased the property (where the park is now located) at the end of July this year,” he said. “I would pass by it every day, and I got to thinking it would make a nice park.”

He started buying picnic tables and park grills, as well as a play set.

“I was looking around on Facebook for park equipment, and I saw some for sale that needed a little work,” he explained.

The equipment was from Obrey Burks’daycare, Bobcat Babies. The daycare was looking to sell the old equipment after they receiving a grant for new toys and equipment for their facility.

Mann said after learning of his interest in the equipment and the reason, Burks and her mother decided donating the equipment, along with some more to go with it, was the right thing to do. All Mann had to do was go pick it up.

“We were glad to have the opportunity to give back to the community by helping with the park,” explained Burks. “He’s put in a lot of work to make it look great, and we are just happy to have had a small part in helping bring it to life.”

Mann said his sons and daughter helped him clean, paint and set up the park.

“It’s been a nice project to work on as a family,” Mann remarked, “and it’s something good to do for our community – a place for events or parties or just somewhere close to take the kids and let them play.”

Mann said for him, a park is a place that’s pleasant to have around – even just driving by and seeing people enjoying life.

“It’s good for my soul,” he said. “I have a bunch of kids, and if I can help leave a better place for them to grow up, that would be great.”

Burks said she thinks the park looks “tremendous.”

“You can definitely see that he and his family have put in a lot of hard work to have it available for everyone. It seems quite a few have been using it already,” she said, adding her daughters love the train Mann added to the playground. “It’s a perfect spot, being right across from the community center. I can see children playing on it for many years to come.”

Mann said it started out as a side project and continues to grow over time. “It’s going to keep getting better, a little at the time.” He named it Madalynn Park after his daughter.

When Mann built the park, he also started going to meetings of the Spruce Pine Historical Society. Now serving as the president of the group, he said he’s eager to get more folks from the community to take part.

“It would be wonderful to get more people to join the group. It’s a good thing to be involved in your community,” said Mann. “I’ve lived in Spruce Pine since I was a kid. It’s a great community.”

He said the historical society isn’t only about preserving and remembering the past but also how history is made every day by working to build a better future. Members of the historical society participate by voting on various community and museum matters.

“Members aren’t required to do any more than they want to, and there are no fees,” Mann added. “We’re just interested in people’s opinions on the community.”

The Spruce Pine Historical Society meets the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Spruce Pine Community Center. Those interested in joining are invited to just show up and participate.

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