Left to right, board members Gordon Anderson, Mandy LeCompte and Tres Carpenter at Little Nancy Creek Park playground.

Weeks before it is scheduled to open officially, the new playground at Little Nancy Creek Park already teems with children.

“There was a need,” said Aimee Connolly, who brought her two children, 5-year-old Connor and 2-year-old Bridget, to the playground one sunny afternoon in late March. “Look at all the kids!”

Children were hard at play just about everywhere in the community playground. Some climbed the play structure. Others slid down slides or swung on the swings. Dozens of youngsters and their parents filled the area — so many that their cars overflowed the parking lot.

The playground’s formal opening isn’t scheduled until April 21. The board of Little Nancy Creek Park plans a celebration to begin at 9 a.m. that day.

It’s no surprise to the playground’s organizers or to parents that the 8,000-square-foot, $155,000 play area has caught on with neighborhood children. The 5-acre Little Nancy Creek Park at 4012 Peachtree-Dunwoody Road lies in the middle of an area that has few playgrounds families can walk to, parents said

“It’s the newest playground in Buckhead,” said Tres Carpenter, marketing and fundraising chairman for Little Nancy Creek Park. “It’s an underserved area.”

On March 28, Connolly and her friend Laura Troup, who also brought her two children to the park, agreed the new playground met a neighborhood need. “We love it,” Connolly said. “It’s great to have something close by.”

Before the Little Nancy Creek Park play area was installed, Connolly said, they had to drive to Chastain Park or Garden Hills Park to find playgrounds.

“It’s fabulous,” Troup said. “It’s a great addition to the neighborhood. There’s a need that’s huge. People worked hard to get it here.”

Little Nancy Creek Park sits on the Buckhead side of Peachtree-Dunwoody, the dividing line between the North Buckhead and Historic Brookhaven neighborhoods. Supporters of the park come from both neighborhoods.

The park is owned by the city of Atlanta, but the playground and other developments of the property have been financed by contributions from the community through the Friends of Little Nancy Creek. In March, Park Pride awarded the Friends of Little Nancy Creek Park its 2012 Inspiration Award for a community group. Park Pride officials have said the award is intended to honor those who engage the community to take care of and advocate for parks in metro Atlanta.

Carpenter said about 40 percent of the funds for the park have come from residents of the community, about 40 percent from foundations such as Park Pride and about 20 percent from corporate contributions. The Friends of Little Nancy Creek organization has raised about $340,000 so far, he said, out of the $750,000 the group hopes to raise altogether.

The group hopes to build trails through wooded areas of the park and to construct several small support buildings, including a covered overlook on the trail, he said.

When the organization held meetings to determine what should be in the park, neighbors said they wanted a playground. The response to the completed, but not yet formally open, play area seems to show that little has changed.

“It hasn’t even been officially announced yet – just word of mouth – and look what we’ve got,” said board member Gordon Anderson.

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