PC Civitans, park board plan park as memorial
For many Phil Campbell residents, the April 27 tornado is still as vivid in their minds as the day that it happened, but two local organizations are hoping to transform a piece of the town into a place where residents can go to reflect on and remember the memories of the friends, family and neighbors they lost nearly five month ago.
The Phil Campbell Civitan Club and the Phil Campbell Park and Recreation Department have joined forces to raise money for a memorial park in the middle of town that Civitan President Bruce Forman said will be a way to help people heal and move forward.
“Building this memorial park will be a symbol of the rebuilding so many of our town’s citizens are going through,” Forman said. “But mainly, this memorial will be a place where people can come to remember the loved ones they lost that day.”
Phil Campbell Mayor Jerry Mays said his hope is that this memorial will be something refreshing for the residents that went through so much on April 27.
“When you’re a small community like we are, something like this touches everyone,” Mays said. “Each person we lost was someone’s friend, neighbor or family member, so this memorial park will be a great way to pay respect to the memories of those people.”
Forman said the park will be located in downtown Phil Campbell in the grassy area between the Chat ‘n’ Chew and the old barber shop. Tentative plans for the park include a fountain and a walkway made from bricks taken from Phil Campbell High School and the old barber shop and a small splash pad for residents to enjoy.
“We will also sell memorial bricks that people can purchase to honor the loved ones they lost,” Forman said. “We want this to be a special place for our community.”
Forman said the idea for the memorial park was first brought up by Park and Recreation Director Rita Barton, who is also a member of the Civitan Club.
“This was something that Rita brought up at one of our meetings and I told her that Civitan could help out,” Forman said. “We just got the ball rolling from there.”
Forman said they now need help from the community and others who wish to make the memorial park a reality. They have raised nearly $2,000 but they still have a long way to go to meet their $40,000 goal.
“We’ve already received $1,000 from Alabama Power and we’ve received other donations to get us to where we are,” Forman said. “Other companies have said they would like to give and I’ve been talking to representatives from Lowe’s who said they would be willing to help with the landscaping. We just need everyone to pitch in to support this worthy cause.”
Those interested in making a donation toward Phil Campbell’s memorial park can send contributions to the Phil Campbell Civitan Memorial Fund, CB&S Bank, P.O. Box 220, Phil Campbell, AL 35653, or make a contribution in person at any local CB&S Bank location.