A place to re­mem­ber

Work started for first phase of YMCA Out­door Cen­ter project

The Covington News - - Local News - By Robby Byrd

When Ken and Cindi Mal­com un­ex­pect­edly lost their daugh­ter Mary Beth in 2006, the YMCA fam­ily, of which the Mal­coms are an in­te­gral part, wanted to cel­e­brate and re­mem­ber her life but did not know ex­actly how.

That is un­til plans for the YMCA Out­door Cen­ter got the ball rolling and pro­vided the op­por­tu­nity and the lo­ca­tion for Mary Beth’s Place, a com­mu­nity play­ground de­signed by the Mal­coms along with their friends and fam­ily.

“We knew that we wanted to do some­thing to honor her (Mary Beth),” said Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily YMCA Di­rec­tor Louly HayKapp. “We asked the Mal­coms if that would be a fit­ting way to re­mem­ber her. We’ve had the plans and hopes for a long time to build an out­door cen­ter then this came along as a way to honor her and her fam­ily.”

Mary Beth’s Place will pro­vide the cen­ter­piece to the Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily YMCA Out­door Cen­ter with a ten­ta­tive com­ple­tion date set for some­time this sum­mer.

For Ken, the project is an­other ex­am­ple of the Cov­ing­ton com­mu­nity’s sup­port of his fam­ily.

“We’re hon­ored and hum­bled,” Ken said of the project. “We’re ex­cited that they’re go­ing to do this. This is a place where thou­sands of chil­dren will get to play and have fun. Even af­ter we’re gone, kids will get to play there.

“This means the whole world to us,” he added. “Not many peo­ple have parks and play­grounds named af­ter them. I’m as proud as I can be, but I’m hum­bled and hon­ored at the same time.”

Ken said the play­ground is the per­fect way to honor Mary Beth, who would have been more than ex­cited to have a play­ground named in her honor.

“If you think about a 5-year-old who loved to play, she would have cer­tainly rather had a play­ground named af­ter her in­stead of a street or some­thing,” Ken said. “The peo­ple at the Y knew that this is the way she would want to be re­mem­ber.”

The play­ground is also a KaBOOM! project. KaBOOM! is a na­tional non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that cre­ates, along with the com­mu­nity, play­grounds in­spired by the vi­sions of chil­dren who will use the fa­cil­ity. Cel­e­brat­ing twelve years of ser­vice in 2008, KaBOOM! ral­lies com­mu­ni­ties to achieve bet­ter pub­lic pol­icy, fund­ing and pub­lic aware­ness for in­creased play op­por­tu­ni­ties na­tion­wide.

De­sign meet­ings were held on April 3, which is one of the first steps in mak­ing Mary Beth’s Place a re­al­ity. Chil­dren met with KaBOOM! rep­re­sen­ta­tive Natalie Prof­fit to give their in­put as to what kind of equip­ment they would like to see in the play­ground.

Fol­low­ing the chil­dren’s meet­ing Prof­fit met with the Mal­coms and other adult or­ga­niz­ers and plan­ners to dis­cuss in­put gath­ered from the chil­dren’s meet­ing and to de­velop the fi­nal de­sign plan for the play­ground.

The build day for Mary Beth’s Place has been set for June 5. Fundrais­ing for the project, ac­cord­ing to Hay-Kapp, has only just be­gun.

Mary Beth’s Place is only one com­po­nent of the larger Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily YMCA Out­door Cen­ter, which is cur­rently in the plan­ning and fundrais­ing stages.

The out­door cen­ter will also be home to the Chase Cain Me­mo­rial Soc­cer Field in honor of Chasen Ed­ward “Chase” Cain who died in Oc­to­ber 2004. He is the son of Ed­die and Dawn Cain and brother of Andrew and Mar­ley Cain.

De­ci­sion to make: Chase was a YMCA Af­ter School Pro­gram em­ployee, who died in a car crash in 2004.

Sev­eral nam­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties are still avail­able in the out­door cen­ter in­clud­ing four multi-pur­pose fields, a multi-use trail, four Day Camp gaze­bos, six park benches, a founder’s wall and a donor mon­u­ment. Founder’s Walk bricks are also avail­able to those want­ing to honor or re­mem­ber a loved one.

The cam­paign goal for the en­tire project is $3 mil­lion. Con­tri­bu­tions can be made to the Cov­ing­ton Fam­ily YMCA. Pledges can be made and do­nated over a three year pe­riod. For in­for­ma­tion or to be­come in­volved with the project, con­tact Louly Hay-Kapp at (770) 787-3908.

Ken Mal­com en­cour­aged those in­ter­ested in get­ting be­hind a project to get in­volved in the YMCA Out­door Cen­ter project.

“We’re mov­ing for­ward with this (out­door cen­ter) but we’re still short of our goal for the first phase of the out­door cen­ter,” Ken said. “This is ev­ery­body’s park, and if you’re look­ing for a great cause to get be­hind, this is a great cause to get be­hind.”

For Hay-Kapp, the project is a way to make the com­mu­nity stronger.

“I think, as a res­i­dent of New­ton County, that we have very lit­tle green space and gath­er­ing spots,” Hay-Kapp said. “The out­door cen­ter is go­ing to be open to the pub­lic dur­ing the times when a YMCA pro­gram isn’t go­ing on.

“We hope to have it open from dawn to dusk for ev­ery­one whether they want to play Fris­bee or walk on the walk­ing track,” she added. “I think it will be an as­set to the county.”

Robby Byrd/The Cov­ing­ton News

Kathy Kitchens, cen­ter, looks over play­place de­signs with Ken (left) and Kathy Mal­com on Thur­day dur­ing the Mary Beth’s Place de­sign day. The play­place is be­ing built in honor of Mary Beth Mal­com, the daugh­ter of Ken and Cindi, who died sud­denly at the age of 5.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.