I recently made a trek to the Piedmont region of our state and had the opportunity to stop in Kernersville. Just a few miles off I-40 and near the heart of downtown I found Harmon Park. When looking for a park on the town’s website, the story of this park is what attracted me to it. When I talked to Parks & Recreation Director Ernie Pages and got more information, I was delighted I made this my pick.
This is the first park for the town of Kernersville and it became a park in the 1930’s. It is named after D.W. Harmon who served as the Town Clerk in the 1920’s. Upon his death, he bequeathed part of his land to the town to become its very first town park. On the corner of the property is a little house. This house served as Mr. Harmon’s office, and later as the town hall, police department, library and now is the office for the Kernersville Little Theatre.
At just over 2 acres, this park has a lot going on with a picnic shelter, wedding gazebo, fountain, playground, open space and flower garden. I noticed that most everything in the park had a plaque dedicating the item to the memory of someone. On the town’s website, I found out that in the spirit of Harmon’s original donation many other town citizens have donated additions to this park over the years.
Harmon Park is the site of the first Declan’s Playground built in honor of Declan Donoghue and his spirit of play. Declan passed away at the age of 2. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations. Due to his love of playgrounds, his family worked with the town to build a playground in his honor and donated 40-50% of the cost. With a second Declan’s Playground at another Kernersville park, the family has also built or planned playgrounds in Greensboro and High Point.
As I was taking a few pictures at the park, a lady spoke to me and said she and her grandson came every day. I questioned her on the everyday part and she said, “yes, every day.” She is his daytime caregiver and every morning he asks to go the park. So that is what they do. Hearing of his love for the park and playground made me smile. If you ever question if our profession has an impact, hearing a story like this should give us all affirmation that it does.
I wish my schedule that day had allowed me more time to just sit on a bench, listen to the fountain and watch the kids play. With several picnic tables and its proximity to downtown, I can imagine it is a popular spot at lunch time on pretty days. Maybe on a return visit, I will be able to do just that.
For more information on Harmon Park visit http://kvparks.com/parks/harmon-park/