Troup’s Joe Lane Splash Park project making strides

by by Michelle Dillon Staff Writer

It has been just over a year since the initial $100,000 donation, originally anonymous, was donated to the City of Troup for a splash park that is soon to be a reality.

The announcement of the $100,000 donation, along with the donor’s stipulations, was first made at the city council meeting February 26, 2018. The stipulations included the donor’s right to name the splash park and the park be built within 18 months of receiving the donation.

The initial estimated cost of the proposed park was $129,000 and while the anonymous donation would cover the majority, the City of Troup requested community members raise the remaining funds necessary for the splash park’s construction, rather than using public funds.

The Troup Community Development Corporation’s (TCDC) executive director, Suzanne Loudamy, was tasked with directing the fund-raising efforts on behalf of TCDC and the city, with a goal of $40,000. Her “Make a Splash” campaign, approved by TCDC, was set in motion.
A thermometer display measuring the amount of donations was hung outside city hall. Letters were written seeking donations from area residents and businesses. As an added incentive, those making donations of $120 or more would have an engraved brick placed near the splash pad.

As Loudamy conducted fund-raising efforts, so did the second-grade students at Troup Elementary. Each year, for at least five years, the second-graders have held a lemonade stand to support a worthy cause. On May 13, 2018, the students held their lemonade stand with the intent of donating towards the construction of the splash park.

“This year we decided to provide all the students of Troup Elementary an opportunity to have a part in raising funds for the splash pad and giving back to their community,” stated second-grade teacher Misty Owens, at that time.

Several second-grade student representatives were able to present a check for $937.40 to the TCDC during their regular monthly meeting Monday, May 21, 2018. The TCDC held a public hearing that same evening to discuss a project to donate $10,000 to the splash park’s construction. Following the hearing, TCDC board members voted to approve the donation. They also approved setting another public hearing to discuss matching funds in order to increase donations from residents and businesses.

Following the public hearing June 18, 2018, the TCDC board approved matching funds for the splash park project up to $13,250. At that time, a little over half of the $40,000 goal had been donated or pledged.

By the time of the regular city council meeting in July, it was announced that a total of $45,958.45 had been raised for the construction of the splash park.

The donor of the initial $100,000 amount for the splash park was also revealed as Dianne Layne. Mayor Joe Carlyle thanked the Layne family, including Dianne and her grown children Mickey and Sheri Layne, Amanda Layne and Jeff and Angie Hammonds. The family had chosen and announced the name of the park as the Joe Layne Family Splash Pad.

“I know my dad was a kid at heart so he wanted to do anything that was good for the kids, so I know that he would be very happy for it,” Mickey Layne stated at the meeting.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the splash pad was held October 8, 2018, at the Zach Taylor Park located just behind the police station.

Layne family members were present, along with city council member Jeff Hale, TCDC executive director Suzanne Loudamy, representatives of the second-grade classes and representative of Jasper Ventures, a company who had provided substantial donations.

By Christmas 2018, the water features had been installed and the splash park appeared much like the proposed drawings.

Blue “splash grass” was installed in late February 2019 to simulate a stream running through the park and the installation of a fence began during the first week of March.

No date has yet been set for the park’s opening as the city is waiting on completion of the fencing and testing of the water system.

The Joe Layne Splash Park will provide local residents a place to gather, have fun and cool off during the hot summer months.

“I’m real excited,” stated council member Nelson Darden about the near completion of the park. “I think small towns don’t have enough for youth to enjoy. It will create a lot of family value.”