A pair of pro-football players will team up with volunteers this weekend to bring new life to a pair of neighborhood playgrounds.
John Gilmore and Chad Henne, co-founders of the Gilmore | Henne Community Fund, will lead efforts to rehabilitate Barbey's Playground in Reading on Saturday and the Temple Playground in Muhlenberg Township on Sunday.
"We're lucky to have volunteers from within the communities where the playgrounds are located, as well as volunteers from local businesses, schools, and nonprofit organizations," said Gilmore, a tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "We've discovered that the old saying, 'many hands make light work,' rings true when it comes to creating safe, clean play areas for local kids."
Volunteers began work on Barbey's Playground at Schuylkill Avenue and Elm Street in Reading last month. They'll return at 10:00 Saturday morning.
The Gilmore | Henne Community Fund will repair the middle and southern parts of the park, while the city will repair the northern part. The city's portion of the project will be completed by the fall.
"Every city needs people like John Gilmore and Chad Henne, who are successful, inspirational role models who give back to their communities," said Mayor Tom McMahon, D-Reading. "No community can do this alone in difficult economic times, and we are blessed to have their energy and enthusiasm to help make our city all it can be. Even more importantly, they have enlisted the neighbors and youth to actively participate in maintaining the parks."
Volunteers will then work to rebuild the Temple Playground in Muhlenberg Township starting at 9:00 Sunday morning.
The park's playground equipment was removed over the years due to safety issues and newer standards, officials said.
The renovation will include a new playground, mulch, basketball court resurfacing, painting, and new hoops, as well as some landscaping and new picnic, seating and walking areas.
"I can't commend John and Chad enough," said Neal McNutt, Muhlenberg Township Parks Department. "I would imagine, as NFL players, it would be very difficult not to get sucked into the vortex of 'me, myself and I.' How lucky we are to have athletes like this - guys who have not forgotten their past."
Several companies have donated their time and services to the park projects.
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