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Cultural arts park to get walking trails with grant

The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority presented Troy University a grant of $5,000 Monday to help continue construction of the walking trails in Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park. Pictured, from left, Troy University Physical Plant Director Mark Salmon, Authority board member Randy Hale; Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. and Authority Board Chairman Kenneth Boswell exchange the grant check.

The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority presented Troy University a grant of $5,000 Monday to help continue construction of the walking trails in Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park. Pictured, from left, Troy University Physical Plant Director Mark Salmon, Authority board member Randy Hale; Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. and Authority Board Chairman Kenneth Boswell exchange the grant check.

The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority is continuing its support of Troy University in the development of the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park through a $5,000 grant that was presented to the university Monday.

The grant funds will assist Troy University in its continuing efforts to fight invasive species of plants and in building walking trails in the cultural arts park.

The grant was presented to Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. by Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell, authority board chairman; Randy Hale, authority board member; and Barbara Gibson, authority executive director.

Mark Salmon, Troy University Physical Plant director, expressed appreciation for the continued support of the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority.

“We are grateful that work will continue on the improvement of the area south of the new amphitheater,” Salmon said. “This area that was once covered in kudzu is now a beautiful park with potential for further growth that includes walking trails and wooden bridges in the wetlands area.”

The university and the watershed authority have cooperated on various projects in the wetlands area since 2008 and have combated invasive plant species including kudzu, Chinese privet and “popcorn” trees.  The main focus will now shift to the construction of 1,500 feet of walking trails using natural materials. The second phase of the trail construction will expand the university’s outdoor ecological classroom within the park.

“We appreciate the authority’s continued support of the Janice Hawkins Park project,” Salmon said.

“It allows us to make a very positive impact on the usability and sustainability of our space on campus.

“ The park’s master plan includes stream restoration and green infrastructure to encourage water quality and provide access to the natural areas of the park.”

Gibson said the authority appreciates the opportunity to have participated in this important and beneficial project with Troy University.

“We commend Chancellor Hawkins for his efforts in creating a ‘green space’ trail system for the university’s students and the City of Troy to access bottomland hardwoods and perennial streams on the Troy University campus,” Gibson said.

The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority is a state agency created in 1991 by the Alabama Legislature. It is responsible for managing the 2.3 million acres of watersheds of southeast Alabama in the areas of water quality, water quantity, flood control and prevention and water conservation education.