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Thumbs up: York City's public works director is thinking outside the box when it comes to maintaining 25 parks on a shoestring budget.

The resources available allow crews to mow the grass, and that's about it, said director Jim Gross, who for years has advocated for a parks conservancy — an independent board of volunteers who would manage an endowment and prioritize needs.

Now the idea is finally taking off, with Mayor Kim Bracey recently announcing a partnership with the York County Community Foundation to begin fundraising and building a conservancy.

Bring on the play, indeed.

Thumbs up: To the York College students helping a local charity put free items — everything from clothing to housewares — in the hands of needy York City residents.

The students are in the midst of a campus collection drive and will be holding a car wash Saturday to raise money for the organization.

York Free Store started three years ago by distributing items at the Friends Meeting House on West Philadelphia Street, but it quickly outgrew the space and has had to move to larger parking lots each year. It's now looking for a larger space and a truck to haul its wares.

Thumbs up: Make room – York City Mayor Kim Bracey wants to see York County become the "buddy bench capital of the world."

Borrowing "the brilliant, humane concept" from Central York student Christian Bucks, Bracey said in her annual State of the City Address last week that her administration will install buddy benches in each of the city's K-8 schools.

Bucks was a second-grader at Roundtown Elementary School in 2013 when he pitched an idea to his teachers for a place where lonely kids could find peers to talk to or play with during recess.

The idea has since spread to hundreds of schools worldwide.

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