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County Funding Protects Leicester Community Center's Playground

Leicester Community Center

Pictured (left to right): Leicester Community Center Vice President Fred Myers, District 3 Commissioner Robert Pressley, District 3 Commissioner Joe Belcher, and Leicester Community Center President Marie Whitener.

Thanks to County support, rainy days no longer threaten the Leicester Community Center. Recently, the property experienced a septic issue and flood damage on its playground property. With the help of District 3 Commissioners Joe Belcher and Robert Pressley, the Buncombe County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) were able to secure $15,000 in funding to help with the extensive and costly repairs.

“We are extremely grateful for the guidance and support of Buncombe County during this trying period,” said Marie Whitener, President of the Leicester Community Center. “This has been a frustrating and difficult process for all of us, and we appreciate the understanding and support of the renters and users of the Leicester Community Center who have had to go without the much-loved playground.” SWCD worked with Whitener and Vice-President Fred Myers on several aspects of stormwater drainage in the summer and fall of 2019. Runoff from building gutters and the parking lot had caused the mulch in the playground to rot, creating a large muddy area around the equipment. The community center closed the playground for three months because of this situation.  

The SWCD worked with engineer Layne Owen and soil scientist Dalton Buchanan to design a landscape system to divert stormwater runoff away from the playground. The community center also worked with Environmental Program Specialist Rich Holder with Buncombe County Environmental Health to design and install a new septic system. The old system failed the same time the runoff problems were occurring. A private contractor also installed a new downspout on the gutter system to divert water away from the slope above the playground as well.  

“I am grateful for the vital connection that our community centers provide in communities throughout Buncombe County. Leicester Community Center is an shining example of service. Providing meals, meeting spaces, exercise and playground facilities, veteran services, 4-H and farm community support as well as educating community members through special scheduled events; just to name a few. I was honored to support improvements to this special partner of Buncombe County," said Commissioner Joe Belcher. The playground is now much drier after rain events, and open again with a fresh layer of play safe mulch. You can visit the Leicester Community Center at 2997 New Leicester Highway.

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