Manufacturing plant Hellas Fibers is devoting two days next week to restore City of Dadeville's Keebler Park, an announcement that's spurred a renewed focus on the Parks & Recreation department.
"With all the work they're putting in and all the hours, once it's cleaned up, it needs to be maintained," Councilmember Tony Wolfe said at Tuesday's city council meeting.
Hellas employees will be working at the park on company time Thursday, April 22 (Earth Day) and Friday, April 23.
Hellas Fibers, located just south of downtown Dadeville, manufactures the fibers used in artificial turf, including a few NFL stadiums. The park clean-up is part of a community outreach effort under new plant manager Jeff Roman, Hellas HR manager Jordan Drummonds said.
"One of the tenets that Hellas is driven by is to be community-minded, so we really wanted to work to do a better job at displaying that," Drummonds said. "The park is so beautiful but it does need a little love."
Elaine Balint Forbus of Dadeville Beautification Board told the city council Tuesday how Drummond's offer came out of the blue last month. Forbus said 35 volunteers from the Beautification Board and other local organizations had spent all day at Keebler Park March 13 but only made "a small dent in a huge project" before Drummonds called.
"They want to give back to the community and they mentioned Keebler Park because they have employees that go there and eat lunch," Forbus said. "This is a company that wants to give back to our community and they're giving 60 to 80 hours of employee time to our city."
By Forbus' estimation, that would amount to $6,000 to $8,000 in labor costs, not including the wood and lumber the company intends to donate.
Councilmember Darryl Heard said he wasn't even aware Keebler Park belonged to the city.
"I appreciate the help," Heard said. "I just want to know, is the city supposed to keep it up?"
Dadeville mayor Jimmy Frank Goodman asked Parks & Rec director Scott Baker for a status update on Keebler Park.
"Nobody's ever asked me, not one time, what our schedule is over there," Baker said.
Councilmembers Teneeshia Goodman-Johnson, Wolfe and Heard called for a renewed commitment to Keebler Park.
"We need to get together so we can come up with what needs to be done and how it needs to be done," Goodman-Johnson said. "Because after these people are giving us this much manpower, that's disrespectful if we don't keep it up."
The park clean-up takes place April 22-23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hellas plans to weed, lay mulch, fix the pergolas and spindles and clean up the park benches and tables. Forbus encouraged the mayor and city council members to pitch in.