Anne Springs Close Greenway Announces Grand Opening of Schroering Forest Playground with Greenway Partners

For close to three decades, the Anne Springs Close Greenway has provided an outlet for people of all ages to connect with nature. Greenway founder and namesake, Anne Springs Close said after the opening in 1995, “You get a lot of creativity from being out in the woods and making your own fun. And I am hoping children come here and get a taste of that.”

This spring, in conjunction with April is Love the Greenway Month, and 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.

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 11:00am, by invitation only. Media outlets are welcome.

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.

For more information about the Schroering Forest Playground and the Greenway’s Spring Kick-off weekend, please visit

Ribbon Cutting

When: Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 11:00am

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

By Invitation Only

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. Please 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.

About Anne Springs Close Greenway

Opened in 1995, the Anne Springs Close Greenway is a 2,100-acre natural preserve that offers hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking and more, while maintaining a natural habitat for wildlife. Its mission is to provide stewardship and protect the cultural, ecological and scenic features of the land, while also offering recreational and educational opportunities that promote the health and wellness of the community. Owned and operated by the nonprofit Leroy Springs & Co., Inc., the Greenway receives no tax money to build, maintain and operate trails and facilities. It is funded in part by the generous donations from individuals and corporations.