New civic club aims to beautify Reedtown Park

The Reedtown Garden Beautification Club will hold a community event to plant flowers along the trail behind the Chucky Mullins Center in Russellville Oct. 4 from 2-5 p.m.

Tammy West, club founder and leader, started the new group a couple of months ago. She said the club has grown to 12 members.

West grew up within easy walking distance of Reedtown Park and the Chucky Mullins Center. She said she used to go to the park every day. Nowadays, she still lives nearby and enjoys visiting the park with her children. While it has a lot to offer already – trees, a walking trail, benches, pavilions, picnic tables, a playground and basketball goals – West said she hopes to make the park even better.

The trail is located directly behind the Chucky Mullins Center, next to the old Reedtown School. West’s mother attended school there, and West took part in the Boys and Girls Clubs housed in the center when she was little. She said she hopes those clubs, and similar programs, will be brought back one day.

“We need to take care of our community and show people what Reedtown has to offer – that it’s not a bad place; it’s a place of community and love,” West said. “Together, we can make it even better.”

West, an event planner and baker, as well as an employee of the Russellville City Parks and Recreation Department, set her sights on the walking trail as a great spot to begin improvements.

“I have always enjoyed walking the trail. It’s a beautiful and relaxing area with a lot to offer,” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that.

“One day, I asked my supervisor if I could start planting flowers out there, and that’s how the club began. We are working on lots of plans for the future. I am running the club in my capacity as a private citizen, along with help from others in the area.”

West called the park “a wonderful location that not many people pay a lot of attention to, and it has the potential to be one of the most beautiful places in town.”

Russellville Mayor David Grissom called West “a special person” in the community. “She does a wonderful job with everything she is involved in,” Grissom said. “I am eager to see what she and the rest of the Reedtown Beautification Garden Club and everyone else in our community are able to accomplish there to make it even better than it already is.”

West said some of the goals the club hopes to realize in the park include setting up a way for people to donate money for flowers and in exchange for an engraved brick placed in the park. This idea is inspired by the University of North Alabama’s commemorative brick garden.

West said she would like to see people enjoying lots of activities in the park, such as weddings, reunions and parties.

“We’d like to put a circle of benches out, like at a botanical garden, maybe with a bird bath in the middle, in memory of Russellville students who have passed away,” West added.

The group has looked at the grounds and drawn sketches of future plans. West said they are in the process of getting paint for the pavilions and will let children use acrylic paint to add their handprints to the walls.

Donnie Flanagan, Russellville City Parks and Recreation manager, said he would like to see the park used a lot more than it is currently. “Flowers make any area more beautiful. That will be a nice addition to the walking trail,” Flanagan said. “Reedtown Park is a great asset for our community. There’s a wonderful playground. A lot of people don’t even know the park and trail are there. I’m excited to see what the group and our town will do to enhance it.”

Ashley Cummins, Russellville Public Library director, is also a member of the club she said beautifying the park “has been a passion project of Tammy’s for a while now.”

“She is leading this group with a lot of enthusiasm. Tammy is a real asset to the community,” Cummins said. “When she approached me about it, I was excited to get involved. There are some wonderful areas in Russellville with great potential, and this is definitely one of them.”

Cummins said the project will improve the area aesthetically, making it a more welcoming environment.

“That’s what I think is so exciting,” Cummins said, “the community coming together to work hard with their own hands to make something beautiful that we can all be proud of.”

Anna Carol Porter, founder of local service club Krewe de Guard, is also a member of the Reedtown Beautification Garden Club, and she said she sees lots of potential at the park.

“With the loving hands of the community, Reedtown Park has the potential to be the home of the best walking trail in Russellville,” Porter said. “We all know how to have lots of fun when we work together for a good cause. Krewe is thrilled to help the club fix up Reedtown Park. All in the community who wish to help are welcome – including kids.”

Sunday’s activities will include gardening and painting as part of an opportunity to learn how to work together to help the community. People are encouraged to bring seeds and/or flowers that do not require lots of water and that can be planted in early fall, gardening tools, personal snacks and drinks and clothes that can get dirty.

“We will be social distancing,” Porter added, “and don’t forget to bring your mask.”

West said taking care of the community is extremely important to her – in memory of those who have passed, for the sake of those in the present and for future generations. Beautification of the trail is the club’s first project. Eventually, West said they plan to expand to other areas around town as well.

Those interested in more information about the event or the club may contact West by phone, 256-668-7649, by email, tammywest284@gmail.com, on Facebook or by looking up the group on Facebook and requesting to join.

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