A long-neglected Alexandria park has been reopened thanks to the hard work of the townspeople.
The park’s road to rehab began when Alexandria citizen Ricky Harris, got approval from the board of aldermen to begin a cleanup operation at the property last summer. Locals volunteered tractors, equipment, and hundreds of man hours toward the clearing of the five-acre park, located downtown near the fairgrounds.
A rededication and ribbon cutting for the park were held Saturday, with State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver providing Tennessee and United States flags for the park and presenting a Tennessee Senate proclamation recognizing the volunteers for their hard work in revitalizing the facility. The proclamation is signed by State Senator Mae Beavers, State Representatives Mark Pody and Terri Lynn Weaver, and Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey.
Chamber of Commerce Director Suzanne Williams hosted the ribbon cutting, as well as presenting the city with a Chamber Community Improvement Award.
Mayor Bennett Armstrong said the initiative shown in making the park useful again was impressive.
"Its just amazing what motivated volunteers can do," the mayor said. "The park was a jungle, and way overgrown and neglected. But with friends he (Harris) brought in, hundreds of hours of community time have been spent here. They all brought their own tractors. It was a lot of work but it has really turned out nice."
The park was originally funded with federal Model Cities money in the early 1970s, and boasted tennis and volleyball courts and a softball field, but vandalism and neglect caused the park to be all but forgotten over the years.
Harris gave a special thanks to all the volunteers, including Mayor Armstrong and Lee Plummer, and to local businesses Wilson Bank & Trust, Liberty State Bank, Alexandria Auto Parts, Dr. Wesley Suddarth, and others, and to DTC Communications for their work, and for donating the picnic tables.
The proclamation reads:
"Whereas, it is fitting that the members of this legislative body should recognize our parks on the national, state, and local level and their natural, cultural, and historic heritage, providing opportunities for discovery; and
Whereas, one such park is Alexandria City Park, which will be rededicated in a special ceremony on April 30, 2016; and
Whereas, Alexandria City Park was founded in the 1970s when DeKalb County entered the Model Cities program; the park originally contained a volleyball court, tennis court, softball field, six horseshoe pits, and two picnic shelters; and
Whereas, the Town of Alexandria maintained the park until funds were no longer available and the park succumbed to vandalization; and
Whereas, Ricky Harris presented the idea of rejuvenating Alexandria City Park to the mayor and aldermen in August, 2015 and Mr. Harris was named the project coordinator; and
Whereas, Mr. Harris and his family led eleven volunteers of all ages and walks of life to begin the renovation project; local citizens donated a total of $1,600 to aid in the renovation and several volunteers brought their own tools to aid them in accomplishing their tasks, which included the installation of a flagpole and ten tables that had been purchased by six companies and two individuals; and
Whereas, four tractor owners moved dirt and piled up cut trees, completing more than 100 hours in service to their community; employees of DeKalb Telephone Cooperative contributed a chipper and shredder and eight hours of labor; and a crew from Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation repaired two nonworking lights; and
Whereas, due to the hard work and determination of the good people of Alexandria, Alexandria City Park will once more serve as a gathering place for the community, and their efforts should be recognized; and now, therefore,
I, Ron Ramsey, Speaker of the Senate of the One Hundred Ninth General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, at the request of and in conjunction with Senator Mae Beavers, Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and Representative Mark Pody, do hereby proclaim that we honor Alexandria City Park on its rededication, commend the volunteers for their hard work and commitment to their community, and offer our best wishes for many years of continued success.
Proclaimed in Nashville, Tennessee, on this the 26th day of April 2016."