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 Executive Director Barbara Gibson and Board Chairman Randy Hale during a ceremony Thursday on the Troy Campus. Rep. Alan Boothe, who represents Dale and Pike counties, and Sen. Jimmy Holley, whose district includes Coffee, Covington, Dale and Pike counties, also took part in the ceremony. Also representing the University was Dr. Jim Bookout, Senior Vice Chancellor of Finance and Business Affairs.
Mark Salmon, director of the University’s Physical Plant, said TROY is grateful for the continued support of the Authority, and that the funds will help cover the cost of the work that has taken place on a 15-acre parcel within the park and an adjacent five-acre parcel near McKinley Drive.
“We appreciate the Authority’s continued support of the Janice Hawkins Park project, and it allows us to make a very positive impact on the usability and sustainability of our space on campus,” Salmon said. “The removal of invasive species of plants is necessary to better enable native plants, which are beneficial to wildlife, to flourish.”
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 kudzu, Chinese privet and “popcorn” trees. The partnership has also helped to construct and maintain walking trails within the park.
“The Choctawhatchee, Pea and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority is proud to continue our work with Troy University in the Janice Hawkins Cultural Arts Park project,” Gibson said. “If anyone remembers that area of campus before work began, they know how much work has gone into the project. It truly is amazing how far this project has come and what a beautiful park it has become.”
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 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.