Troy dedicates newly

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 7, 2001

renovated Murphree Park

By Beth Lakey

Staff Writer

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A celebration held Thursday afternoon at Murphree Park was the result of many Pike County residents putting their "hand" into a project that will bring plenty of pleasure to young and old.

Just before 1 p.m., a sign and the "Wall of Hands" at Murphree Park were unveiled during the dedication of the newly-renovated park.

The "Wall of Hands" is made of sections approximately three feet tall and a combined 100 feet long, with colorful hand prints. Each hand print is on a 6×6-inch ceramic tile that was glazed with a permanent finish and fired in a kiln. Each individual’s name is written on the tile.

"This is a day we’ve been long anticipating," said Dan Smith, director of Troy Parks and Recreation Department and a member of the Exchange Club.

The steel and industrial-strength plastic playground equipment and new additions are not the only things that make the park special, Smith said.

"It has been a community effort of both physical and financial means," Smith said.

Smith said many people were involved in the renovation ­ from parents to local and state leaders.

Many of those individuals’ names are a permanent sign unveiled by Robert Earl Stewart and Ross Jinright.

Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford’s hand prints, as well of those of city council members, adorn the wall.

"This has been a dream for several people for some time," Lunsford said. "The Exchange Club really went out on a limb to borrow the money to make this possible."

The 100-year-old park has been enjoyed by many Pike County residents over the years, including Lunsford.

"I played in this park as a child," the mayor said. "This is a wonderful day in Troy, Alabama."

Jinright, who has three young children, said it was "wonderful seeing kids running around." said

As president of the Exchange Club of Troy, which spearheaded the fund-raising campaign for the park renovation, Jinright said Murphree Park needed to be renovated and Exchange Club members were willing to take on the project.

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.

The park also now features a wooden stage and a 10-station fitness area for adults.

Officials also hope to upgrade and light the walking trail.

Smith and Stewart both pointed out the "Wall of Hands" is a work in progress. Hand tiles are $50 and can be purchased at the Parks and Recreation office. For more information, call 566-4031.