Archived Story

It takes community spirit

Published 12:09pm Saturday, May 4, 2013

By Ann Rye, Chamber of Commerce president and CEO

From the inception of the idea to spruce up the Chamber of Commerce, it’s been all about community … spirit that is! And recently a part of that spirit blossomed in the cooperation of several groups of people to accomplish the new and improved landscaping at the chamber.

Let me tell you how it all happened.

I met with the store manager of Alexander City’s Home Depot, Charles Powell, in the hopes of getting some pine straw donated to tidy up our curb appeal. It was much to my surprise and pleasure that Mr. Powell’s response was, “We can do better than that!”

Within a few more meetings, Home Depot offered to donate a new landscaping package inclusive of sod, trees, shrubs, and bedding flowers. I was thrilled. However, we had an obstacle. We, the chamber, needed to get it prepped and ready for the new product.

Determined to set a good example for others to follow with their own properties, I began to pitch my dilemma to everyone with whom I came in contact. At first mention, our community partners at Russell Lands were happy to help us out in any way they could. Roger Holliday, David Sturdivant and Kirby Scales orchestrated the delivery of a bobcat, tillers and wheel barrel … whatever we needed to make it happen. Without their community spirit and generosity, we would not have been able to accept the generosity of others.

The community spirit gets bigger! With the removal of the old sod, weeds included, we found ourselves in need of some fresh top soil, and our county commissioner, Steve Robinson, worked magic to find us just what we needed. The team of county employees showed up with encouragement and positive attitudes to put their much needed help into the project’s completion. That same positive attitude was apparent when the city employees came to collect the debris from removing the lower limbs of the trees along Tallapoosa Street.

Would anyone have expected that so many would need to collectively work in harmony to make this improvement? Maybe not, but that is exactly the kind of community spirit that it takes to start to see positive change!

While Home Depot and Russell Do It Center might consider themselves competitors, here it is very clear that they are partners: both concerned and engaged in the commitment to better their community. Likewise, government reaches across lines to support commerce and the face of local business in this project.

I am blown away by the great leadership expressed through this small endeavor. I think we “get it” in Alexander City. It takes everyone working in unison to accomplish great things. The more people that get involved in the community, the more likely we are to succeed!

Great job, guys and a BIG THANK YOU!

Rye is president and CEO of the Alexander City Chamber of Commerce.