Handprints will be made this

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2001

Friday and Saturday at TES


Staff Writer

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It’s not too late for parents to have a lasting "impression" of their children.

This Friday and Saturday, members of the Exchange Club of Troy will be at Troy Elementary School making hand prints of area youth that will later become a lasting reminder those children can show their children and grandchildren.

The Exchange Club 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.

Tiles are $50 apiece.

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

Anyone who has not bought a hand print tile, can do so on the spot, said Dan Smith, a member of the civic club and director of Troy Parks and Recreation.

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.

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.

Smith said the club is "still short of its goal" in the fund-raising department, but has ordered the new playground equipment with the hopes of raising even more money for the park renovation project.

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, Smith said.

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

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