Sowing Seeds of Hope in Chilton County

Published 6:23 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Kids enjoy new playground equipment in Thorsby thanks to Sowing Seeds of Hope.

Sowing Seeds of Hope, a nonprofit organization, recently donated funds toward renovations at Richard Wood Memorial Park, Sam Bentley Park and Clanton City Park.

Ann Baker, a former Clanton City Council member, was chairman of the playground committee when the plans started in 2006.

“It was my idea, my dream, to really do something with this park.”

According to Baker, as part of the renovation, the park was extended in the back about 50 feet, into the wooded area behind it.

“Before we moved the fence back, everything was in the sun. Now the kids have some shade to play in.”

They also added handicap accessible ramps, cut trees, added mulch and installed new equipment.

Lori Patterson, a member of the Chilton County Coalition, and also fitness director at Cornerstone Health and Wellness, said SSOH contacted the local health department about the grants they had available.

Patterson said the park was a good investment—“a free, central location to bring children.”

The improvements cost about $40,000 total, including volunteers, bricks and equipment. The city matched grant money from the strategic alliance, each giving $8,000, and the playground committee donated $22,000.

Amy Cleckler, nutritionist at the Health Department, is looking forward to the long-term benefits that come along with an improved play area.

“It allows kids to get out there and get moving,” she said. “It was worth it. And once we started the project, donations just poured out.”

As excited as everyone is about the changes, Baker said she isn’t finished with the space.

“Right now we’re trying to get another piece of playground equipment, maybe within the year, and, eventually, I’d like for there to be a gazebo, picnic tables, grills and more equipment for the children.”