LARGO — On Sunday, Sept. 11, Anona United Methodist Church held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new community playground that’s being built on the church grounds at 13233 Indian Rocks Road.

According to officials, the facility is the result of a vision they had during the pandemic to have a safe place where not just kids, but entire families, in the neighboring community could convene made possible by the generosity of a local donor.

“For the past several months, there has been a planning committee hard at work testing and creating a playground they hope will become an integral part of the community,” church officials said. “Sunday was the culmination of all that has gone into this endeavor as the planning committee and children joined the church family and broke ground on what will be the Anona Community Playground.”

The grand opening of the playground, which was designed in collaboration with area kids and will feature slides, swings, benches, shaded areas, a climbing wall and other amenities, is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 13, and will coincide with the special service commemorating the church’s 150th anniversary in 2022.

According to Pastor Casey McKinney, who chaired the church’s playground committee, the purpose of the space is to bring the community together following the fractured and lonely period of COVID quarantine.

“We really want this to be a place where families are cared for and belong, so our pastor wanted to have a playground on campus that forms a connection with the community,” McKinney said earlier this summer while pointing to the future playground site, which faces Wilcox Road. “We’re in the middle of so many neighborhoods, all facing different ways, so how cool is it to have a place in the middle where kids, and parents, can come together? And they can walk to it, too, so, we want people to take advantage of it.”