Exchange Club sets dates for hand prints

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 18, 2001

Staff Writer

Children are notorious for leaving fingerprints on the walls.

Now, parents have a way to create a wall that will serve as a lasting reminder of their children’s early years.

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The Exchange Club of Troy is planning to construct a Wall of Hands as part of the renovation of Murphree Park.

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.

On May 25 and 26, members of the local civic club will be at Troy Elementary School to assist the children with making the hand print tiles. Times will be 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, May 25 and from 9 a.m. until noon that Saturday, May 26.

Anyone who has not bought a hand print tile, can do so on the spot. Tiles are $50 apiece.

Those who can not be at the elementary school those days will be given an opportunity to have their children’s hand prints made, although a makeup date has not been set, yet.

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

All the money raised from the hand prints and donations 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 has been ordered and should be delivered around the third week of June.

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.

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. Those donors will be recognized for their gifts.

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

Anyone still wishing to donate money to the park renovation can do so by sending tax-deductible contributions to the Troy Exchange Club, P.O. Box 267, Troy, Alabama