A $5,000 grant from the Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority has helped Troy University continue to fight invasive species of plants and maintain walking trails in the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park.
The grant was presented to Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Chancellor, by Authority Board Chairman Randy Hale and Executive Director Barbara Gibson on the Troy Campus Monday morning.
“We are very proud of our association with the University, and we’re especially proud to contribute to this wonderful environmental project,” Gibson said. “(Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park) has been an amazing project for the campus and the community.”
The University and the Authority have cooperated on various projects in the area, considered wetlands, since 2008 and have combated such invasive plant species as Chinese privet, kudzu and “popcorn” trees. Funding from the partnership has also helped to construct and maintain the park’s walking trails.
“The environment of the University continues to be a priority for us,” Hawkins said. “We want our students, employees and community to live, work and have fun in a beautiful place. The regular support that we receive from the Watershed Authority has enabled us to do those things that enhance our environment and, over the years, allowed us to go from good to great.”
The Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park, named in honor of the First Lady of Troy University, includes the International Arts Center, walking trails, a lagoon, green space, event space, and a large collection of sculptures and statues. The park is home to 200 life-size, replica terracotta warrior statues, the largest permanent exhibit of such statues outside of China. The terracotta warriors, by the late Chinese artist Huo Bao Zhu, depict the famous excavations in Xi’an, China. Adjacent to the International Arts Center in the park, the Daniel Foundation of Alabama Plaza is home to events and provides viewing space for the park. Centered in the plaza, the bronze Violata Pax (Wounded Peace) Dove sculpture by artist Nall Hollis symbolizes the shattering of peace on Sept. 11, 2001.