Sunday, September 7, 2014

Nanih Waiya Community Park Still Coming Along

“The Nanih Waiya Community Park Project is still moving right along,” according to Friends of Nanih Waiya Community Park's President, Jerry Hemphill. “There have been a lot of things going on behind the scenes regarding plan preparation as well as getting volunteers to clear the land. We really got the ball rolling in the spring with a fund raiser but the tragic tornado really changed our priorities. But we are nearing our Fall Festival time once again and also close to having an official ground breaking ceremony. So it is time to move forward” As of September 1, 2014, the Friends group has collected over $72,000 in monetary and “in kind” donations and they are working on several grant applications as well.

One of the things the Friends have been working on is a potential layout of the approximately 15 acres on the front of the property.
CDP Landscape Architecture out of Greenwood, MS met with the group and discussed the ideas and plans for the park. The group gave CDP the site survey and some other information which they turned in to a conceptual drawing for the park layout. This plan will be adjusted again soon once CDP receives the topographic survey that is currently being conducted by Kemp Associates. Once these adjustments are made, the group hopes to begin construction. “We have said from the beginning that we want this park built correctly from the start. That is why we are utilizing as many engineers and designers as we can before we start building,” Hemphill said. “Both CDP and Kemp Associates are donating some of their costs to the park project and we really appreciate their efforts.” Hemphill added.

Also in the works is a playground design. Friends Vice President, Mark Dillard, recently met with a group of MSU engineering students from the MSU Bagley College of Engineering in conjunction with the MSU Extension Service Center for the Advancement of Service Learning Excellence. The students are divided into groups and each group has a project that it has to design. Many of the groups will be working on the same projects and a good portion of their final grade depends on this project. Once the designs are finished, the Friends group will meet and decide which students had the best design. “These students were very excited to be working on this for us,” said Dillard. “It gives them the opportunity to design something real that will actually be used, not just an exercise in a book or on the computer. And it gives our park another piece of the blueprint we need.”

Recently the Friends group held a community work day to
Scouts helping out on
continue the work that was started earlier in the spring. The sound of saws and equipment filled the morning air as several people arrived and started clearing. The front of the property next to Hwy 490 east was cleaned up so that the land behind can now be seen and the “Future Home of Nanih Waiya Community Park” sign was installed. “We got a lot accomplished in a short time that day,” said Hemphill. “We had a couple of tractors, a skid steer loader and a back hoe along with some chainsaws and limb saws going. It looked a lot better when we were done.” The group would like to thank Reid Simpson, Justin Moffett, Danny Hatcher, Kristy Woodruff, Roger Caperton, Steve Blackwell, Ellis Houston, Evie Miles and all the young scouts who came out to help.

 Shortly after the work day, Mark Dillard was able to get HJM LLC/TimberCraft to bring their equipment to the park and finish clearing the land. They used a skidder with a mulching attachment on the front to basically “mow” down everything on the property. Where briars and small trees were once “head high” or higher, it
 was bare earth after their machine was finished. “That machine was amazing!” Dillard exclaimed. “It totally cleaned off the front half of the property in less time and left less mess than if we had tried to use a bull dozer.” HJM LLC/TimberCraft also donated much of their effort to the park. “It was amazing what they did and to donate over $7,000 of their time and expense is greatly appreciated” said Hemphill. “Now the engineers can really get a good layout of the land and we can hopefully begin construction soon!”

The Friends group also held their annual Board of Directors meeting and election recently and discussed the upcoming Nanih Waiya Fall Festival and Swamptown 5K Walk/Run. The Festival will be held October 25th at the same location as last year (2896 Middleton Rd Louisville, MS). Once again the plans for the Festival include the Swamptown 5K with the addition of a kids “Fun Run”. Pre-registration forms are being designed and will be available soon. The Festival will again have arts and craft vendors, food, entertainment and plenty of fun for the kids. “Last year was a learning experience for us regarding the planning and operation of a festival and it worked out great,” said Hemphill. “We plan to make this one even bigger and better than before! We are in the process of getting out all the announcements and vendor forms so keep an eye out. Facebook will be updated regularly with our status as well. Like our page Friends of Nanih Waiya Community Park to keep up with everything.” The group is also currently looking for sponsors, booth vendors and entertainment for the event. Contact one of the board members or comment on the Facebook page if you are interested.

The 2014-2015 Officers and Board of Directors for the Friends of Nanih Waiya Community Park as elected recently are:

President- Jerry Hemphill 662-803-7323
Vice President- Mark Dillard
Treasurer- Les Miles
Secretary- Ellis Houston
Director- Lester Holdiness
Director- Bennie Sanders
Director- Reid Simpson

The Friends of Nanih Waiya Community Park is now a 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization. Any donations made to our organization are tax deductible. Donations can be given to any board member or mailed to:

Friends of Nanih Waiya Community Park
PO Box 83
Louisville, MS 39339