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Russellville hosts bicentennial kickoff

Cold, damp weather didn’t keep people from celebrating the City of Russellville’s 200th birthday March 1 at Sloss Lake. A crowd gathered under the pavilion as Chris Ozbirn, Franklin County and Russellville City bicentennial coordinator, welcomed everyone and explained the purpose of the bicentennial celebration.

“My hope and prayer is that everybody will help us preserve the history of this area. It’s a wonderful place to be – a wonderful place to live,” Ozbirn said.

The primary focus of the event was the unveiling of a historical marker that identifies Sloss Lake as the site where Major William Russell first settled the city of Russellville. Ozbirn wrote the text on the marker that tells a brief history of the settlement of Russellville. At the top of the marker is a drawing by Norris Duncan that depicts Russell and the original settlement.

“I appreciate all of the work Chris has done to bring this together,” said Rep. Jamie Keil. “It’s not only our city’s birthday, but it’s our state’s birthday. It’s going to be a great year this year to celebrate together.”

Russellville Mayor David Grissom read aloud a resolution in honor of the event that was passed at a city council meeting. The resolution recognized the March 1 bicentennial kickoff and Ozbirn’s work with the bicentennial celebrations.

“It’s an honor to be the mayor of the city of Russellville,” Grissom said. “It’s a great day for the City of Russellville. We look forward to the many more events Ms. Ozbirn has planned.”

The attending councilmen and county commissioners, as well as Probate Judge Barry Moore, helped unveil the marker and bring the celebration to a close.