Athens Splash Pad ready to turn dirt

Late Friday afternoon, Athens Chamber of Commerce Board Member Kim Hodges announced that construction of the proposed splash pad was ready to move forward. She posted the following announcement on the Henderson County Now Facebook Page:

I just received final approval to begin construction of the splash pad. We still need around $60k for paving, sidewalks, culverts, fencing etc. Our hope is for the community to help us reach the final hurdle and be able to enjoy the splash pad this summer. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our community, our sponsors, the Athens Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce and the City of Athens.

The project was facing a funding deadline that could have pushed the project to next year.

Athens Chamber of Commerce Luncheon

The Athens Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon Wednesday, March 13, and presented awards including:

Large Business of the Month, Texas Credit Union

From the Chamber: "Texas Trust Credit Union supports the Athens Chamber of Commerce in a variety of ways, such as the PRCA Rodeo, Business After Hours, and as a Luncheon Sponsor."
From the Chamber: “Texas Trust Credit Union supports the Athens Chamber of Commerce in a variety of ways, such as the PRCA Rodeo, Business After Hours, and as a Luncheon Sponsor.”

Small Business of the Month, Heritage Land Bank

From the Chamber: "Heritage Land Bank is actively involved in our community, and are the strongest supporters of the Athens Splash Pad."
From the Chamber: “Heritage Land Bank is actively involved in our community, and are the strongest supporters of the Athens Splash Pad.”

Community Connection Award, Adam Davis

From the Chamber: "Adam has played a vital role in the Athens Splash Pad project, from the concept and design to securing approval from the City of Athens. Adam is also a current student in the Athens Leadership Institute."
From the Chamber: “Adam has played a vital role in the Athens Splash Pad project, from the concept and design to securing approval from the City of Athens. Adam is also a current student in the Athens Leadership Institute.”

 

 

Smartphone app now available for Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center

iphone app promo resizeBy Larry Hodge, Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.

More than 50 percent of Americans depend on mobile devices to communicate, navigate and recreate, and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center now has an app for that.

The app includes all the information visitors need to preview what’s available at TFFC or to guide them around the facility during their visit. Photos and videos combine with proximity-triggered location information to lead visitors through a tour and even give a look at behind-the-scenes operations of the hatchery.

The app also includes a section devoted to other attractions and businesses in the Athens area, and local businesses can arrange to advertise on the app. The mapping function will guide visitors from TFFC to the place of business. Businesses wishing to learn more should contact Larry Hodge at (903) 670-2255 or larry.hodge@tpwd.state.tx.us.

The free app is available for both Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded from the respective app stores by searching for “Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.”

On the Net:

TFFC app in Apple’s App Store.

TFFC app in Google Play.

 

Athens powerlifters headed to state meet

(We are working on getting a photo of the state qualifiers)

Athens Hornet Jose Rodriguez won the 123-pound Regional title, lifting at total of 985 pounds in the Texas High School Powerlifting Association (THSPA) Region 3, Division 2 meet yesterday in Rusk.

John Arellano finished second in the SHW class with a total of 1,475 pounds lifted.

The effort qualifies Rodriguez and Arellano to compete in the state powerlifting meet in Abilene Saturday, March 23. This will mark Rodriguez’s second trip to the state meet.

The 18 lifters Athens took to the Regional meet Wednesday finished 5th overall in the event, which featured 26 schools. Texarkana Liberty-Eylau took first.

Other notable finishers for Athens included:

  • Ricardo Rodriguez placed 5th in the 114-pound class with a total of 735 pounds.
  • Brian Gutierrez placed 8th in the 275-pound class with a total of 1,235 pounds.

Complete rankings for the team can be found here.

Splash pad faces deadline to be built this year

Splash PadAMA stands for “Ask Michael Anything,” and is a chance for readers to ask reporter Michael V. Hannigan questions about Henderson County. Ask questions through our Facebook Page or our website.

QUESTION: Reader Darlene Magee Gunter asked how close organizers are to raising enough money for the Kiwanis Park Splash Pad in Athens … and it turns out her question was well timed and very important.

SOURCE: Kim Hodges, who is an Athens Chamber of Commerce board member and the go-to person when it comes to splash pad funding.

ANSWER: The short answer is that organizers have raised about $148,000 of the complete project’s estimated cost of $217,000.

But the real story is the project must hit $167,000 by Friday, March 15, for there to be a splash pad for kids to play in this summer.

Splash pads have become a very popular item and the contractor picked out for the Athens project has a waiting list of clients. The firm is holding a spot for Athens, but can’t hold it past March 15.

And it will take $167,000 to break ground. Another $20,000 needs to be raised to get started.

Hodges said that’s how much it will cost to build the actual splash pad. The rest of the project money is for fencing, parking, sidewalks and complying with the all-important Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules so that children in wheelchairs can enjoy the water.

“It will be disheartening to come this far and not be able to have it for this summer,” Hodges said.

The neat thing about the fundraising so far is that so many have become involved. Members of the Athens Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis Club, the Athens Leadership Institute (ALI, which is a chamber program), and the city are working together, and as of this morning, 168 business, organizations and individuals have contributed to the project.

Hodges said donations have been as small as $25 and as large as $25,000.

“Our goal is for this to be a community-wide project, and that’s what it has been,” she said.

Actually, the donations have been a small as what the tooth fairy left under one little girl’s pillow.

If you want to help make the splash pad a reality this summer, please call Kim Hodges at First State Bank, 903-676-1923.

If you want some more information about the project, here is the story I wrote when the project was first announced.