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Anne Springs Close Greenway Announces Grand Opening of Schroering Forest Playground

This spring, in partnership with private donors as well as North Carolina State University, the Anne Springs Close Greenway is thrilled to announce the grand opening of the Schroering Forest Playground on Saturday, March 30, as part of the Greenway’s Spring Kick Off weekend. Made possible by the generous vision and financial contributions of Marty and Vesime Schroering, among a handful of other private donors, this natural playscape will further the Greenway’s mission by providing outdoor recreation opportunities for members and visitors of all ages.

The Schroering Forest Playground is a result of collaborative efforts between Greenway staff and the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), a research and professional development unit at the NC State University College of Design. The mission of this unique play space is to reteach children how to play in the woods. The playscape

and structures are specially crafted to help activate sensory skills, foster creativity and problem-solving through free play, reduce stress, increase physical activity, develop confidence in the outdoors, improve cognitive abilities and facilitate outdoor learning.

Key features of the Schroering Forest Playground include a central climbing structure for older children and a corresponding structure for younger guests. The Greenway procured structures from German play equipment designer and constructor, Richter Spielgeräte via APE Studio, Inc., US partner of Richter Spielgeräte. Richter Spielgeräte focuses on safety, sustainability, environmental friendliness, play value and high-quality materials. The company handcrafts the wood, which is sourced from Austria.

The six play structures ordered from Richter Spielgeräte, including one- and two-story timber houses, a sound arch, dendrophone structures, and a versatile snail structure, providing various opportunities for sensory and social development across a range of ages. Additional activity settings, such as a fairy trail, shrub maze, ephemeral art opportunities, natural construction area, mud kitchen, earth play, clay play, and water play areas, as well as a forest adventure play for free exploration, will be added throughout the phased construction, and will further connect guests to the outdoors.

Marty Schroering, Fort Mill resident and donor, expressed his excitement, stating, “Anne Springs Close Greenway has always been a special place for our family. Inspired by the playgrounds we saw while visiting abroad, we wanted to bring the same fun and inspiration to Fort Mill. We are thrilled to partner with the Greenway to bring the Schroering Forest Playground to life and share it with the community we love.”

The construction of the Schroering Forest Playground is part of Anne Springs Close Greenway's ongoing efforts to enhance outdoor learning and natural play environments. John Gordon, President and CEO of Leroy Springs & Company, which operates Anne Springs Close Greenway, emphasized the importance of the new amenity, stating, “This new feature will bring more children to nature through the experiences of forest play, activating key sensory skills while developing creativity and confidence in the outdoors.”

Construction of the Schroering Forest Playground is being completed with a phased approach, starting with the playhouses, climbing structure, fencing, and necessary infrastructure. The first phase will be complete by the grand opening on March 30. The Schroering Forest Playground will be open from 7am to sunset, seven days a

week, unless posted otherwise for maintenance or a scheduled event.

Click here for more information about the Schroering Forest Playground and the Greenway’s Spring Kick-off weekend.

Grand Opening

When: Saturday, March 30, 2024, from 9am-sunset

Where: Lake Haigler Entrance, 2573 Lake Haigler Drive, Fort Mill, SC 29715

Cost: Free for members. Standard daily admission fees will apply for non-members.

Note: there is a special event (Spring Artisan Market) during the same day/time. From 9:00am to 3:00pm, special event parking will apply: $5 per vehicle for Greenway members, $15 per vehicle for non-members.


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