‘Wall of Hands’ campaign continues for park

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2001

Staff Writer

The hand prints will be on the wall.

That’s the goal of the Exchange Club of Troy, which is planning to construct a Wall of Hands as part of the renovation of Murphree Park.

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The Wall of Hands will be made of sections approximately three feet tall and a combined 100 feet long, with colorful hand prints of children. Each hand print will be on a 6×6-inch ceramic tile. The children will have their hands coated with paint, and then the child will leave his or her hand print on a tile, in any color of the rainbow. The tiles will be fired in a kiln and glazed for a permanent finish. The child’s name will also be written underneath the hand print.

It will serve as a unique display those who are children today can show their children, one day. But, the May 14 deadline is fast approaching.

Cost of each hand print is $50. Checks and contact information can be sent to the Troy Exchange Club, P.O. Box 267, Troy, Alabama

36081. Members of the Exchange Club will be contacting those who express an interest, so they will know when the children can leave their colorful hand prints.

Plans are to set up at Troy Elementary School on a Friday evening and Saturday in May so parents can have their children’s hand prints made.

For those out-of-town, the tiles and instructions can be shipped and then returned.

Memorial tiles can also be purchased.

All the money raised from the hand prints will go toward purchasing new playground equipment for Murphree Park.

Robert Earl Stewart, who is heading up one of the project committees, said the club has been studying the idea for a year and is optimistic about the park renovation.

Playground equipment will be ordered May 1 and should be delivered in about six weeks.

Giffen Recreation of Birmingham created plans for the frontier village theme that includes a play area for children age 6 and under as well as equipment for older children.

Although plans are to purchase playground equipment, it will not only be a place for children.

The club wants to create a 10-station fitness station for adults and the city of Troy is working to upgrade the walking trail by adding lighting. Addition of a new parking lot is also in the plans, said Dan Smith, director of Troy Parks and Recreation and a member of the Exchange Club.

"We think the addition of this equipment would make Murphree Park one of the finest attractions in the city," Smith said.

The steel and industrial-strength plastic playground equipment and new additions will not be the only things that make the park special. It will be a true community effort because plans are to have the community do it as a labor of both physical and financial means.

"We want this to be a community-built playground," Smith said. "It means a lot more to the community when they feel they have more ownership."

"We want everyone’s support," club president Ross Jinright said, adding the park will be a place for all ages.

Jinright said the club’s members are "looking forward to revitalizing Murphree Park."

Through the project, the civic club hopes to bring families closer together by giving them a place to spend the afternoon.

Members of the Exchange Club hope enthusiasm for the project spreads throughout the community and gets every segment involved.

Jinright said there are five categories of giving: American, $1,000 and more; Patriot, $500 to $999; Statesman, $250 to $499; Freedom, $100 to $249 and Hand Prints.

Any donations will go through the National Exchange Club Foundation so they can be tax-deductible.

Money raised through the club’s annual onion sale is also going toward the project. A 10-pound bag of Vidalia onions is $10 and a 25-pound bag is selling for $20.