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The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Initiative:

A Brief History

The Gleason Downtown Revitalization initiative had its formal beginning in 2014 with the presentation, by Gleason resident, Charles Anderson, of a formal proposal that he and a small group of other residents had developed for the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman. This proposal had to do with the revitalization of the downtown Gleason area as well as its two city parks, Mike Snider Park and Huggins Park, which had been infrequently used over the past several years.      

As President of the newly constituted Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee,  Mr. Anderson noted that most Gleason citizens take great pride in the Gleason community and want it to look its best. However, he noted that Gleason unfortunately hasn't kept up with the times when it comes to the downtown area, when compared to other towns in the area. He lamented the fact that, while other towns in the area are making improvements, Gleason's downtown area has moved in the opposite direction.

Mr. Anderson indicated that the focus of this committee would be sprucing up the City of Gleason in all ways possible in order to make the town a more attractive destination for visitors, and enhancing the quality of life of Gleason residents. He stated that the Committee hopes to get all citizens involved in helping turn the downtown area around and making it a more enjoyable place to visit and becoming a more attractive place for new businesses to locate. Mr. Anderson stated that the purpose of coming before the Board was not to ask the city for money but simply to obtain the support of the Board. He said that the committee hopes to use grants and individual donations to fund specific projects.

It was noted that the Revitalization Committee has been considering both short and longer improvement. Examples of areas of improvement that have already been addressed have included painting fire hydrants  and providing flower planters for the downtown area. He indicated that other things being considered include making improvements to Huggins Park, possibly obtaining flashing safety lights in school zones, painting artistic murals on walls of buildings, and perhaps, down the road, the construction of a fountain and perhaps a farmers market.

The Mayor and Aldermen expressed their excitement regarding the committee's ideas for improving the Gleason community and voted unanimously to support this new initiative.

Mission Statement

The Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee’s mission is to promote Gleason Businesses and make general improvements to downtown area and the City of Gleason Parks,  without  cost to the City of Gleason budgets. Our goal is to raise our own funds through various fund raising events throughout each year, and use those funds frugally,  while challenging businesses and citizens to donate their efforts and funds to support our revitalization efforts. We intend to honor the past and preserve all we can for future generations, and to help make Gleason a more desirable town in which to live, work, and retire and make the City of Gleason a more attractive site for the development of new businesses.  We hope that all current and former Gleason residents will support our efforts to enhance our town in various ways and, that by working together, the process will strengthen hometown pride in our town of Gleason, Tennessee.

Officers

Charles Anderson - President

Gary Doster - Vice President

Ron Arnold - Secretary

Doris Owen - Treasurer

 

 

The Mike Snider Park Memorial Wall

A way to memorialize loved ones for generations to come !

 

Jim Johnson

GleasonOnline.com

 

(Left to Right) Mary Margaret Beasley,  Rose Anderson, Chief of Police Jeff Hazelwood, Mayor Diane Poole, Scotty Corum, GDRC President, Charles Anderson, Andy Carroll, Jacky Esch, Jim Johnson, & Lynne Shores.

 

After receiving approval from the Gleason Board of Mayor and Alderman to construct the long-planned Memorial Wall at Gleason's Mike Snider Park on April 14th, 2016 representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday, May 27th.

The location of this brick wall, will be near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of the children's play area. When completed, it will be some 80 feet in length, with brick flower boxes on each end. In the center of the wall will be a large rounded brick flower box that will feature a 40-foot tall flag pole proudly flying a  large 8' by 12' American flag.

Special sections at each end of the wall, will contain Black Granite Memorial Stones (approximately 4 x 7 inches in size) that serve to remember family members or others who have passed, to honor others who should be remembered, or those who have in one way or the other provided significant support for this very special community project. A smaller section in the middle of the wall is reserved for memorial stones of those who have served in the military.

It should be noted that some 8,000 bricks for the construction of the wall have been provided by Boral Brick Company of Gleason. The concrete for the wall was provided by Gleason Clay Company (GCC: Cheryl Lehmkuhl, Plant Manager). The actual construction of the the wall represents a joint venture involving the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Gleason Rotary Club.

Laying the Foundation for the Wall

Ronnie Lawrence Operating the Tractor; Jeff Hazelwood (in hoodie)

Bobby Hoskins Operating the Excavator

Laying Concrete:  Randy Kent and Randy Stafford

 

The foundation for the wall was completed (with the help of Ronnie Lawrence Bobby Hoskins, Randy Kent and Randy Stafford) along with contributions of members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee and Rotary Club and a range of others who have contributed both their time, energy and skills to this endeavor.

 

The construction of the wall is currently underway, with skilled Gleason bricklayers Darrell Bell and David Hopper contributing their time and skills (in addition to their other work responsibilities) to finish the remaining work on the wall

 

Gleason Bricklayers Extraordinary

David Hopper and Darrell Bell

 

Foundation Completed:

 

 Darrell and David begin Laying Brick With Others in a Supporting Role

 

Done for the first day - First Section of the Wall Behind Us !

 

Food and General Support Group

 

Memorial Wall Update - October 2016!

 

 

Memorial Wall Update - April, 9 2017

 

Brick Layer extraordinaire, Darrell Bell, placed 108 Black Memorial bricks on the area of the wall located just above the right flower box.

 

Memorial Wall Update - April, 9 2017

 

Darrell also placed another 72 Black Memorial bricks in the area of the wall located just above the Left flower box. We currently have room for another 15 memorial stones at this end of the wall.

 

IF YOU HAVEN'T ORDERED YOUR MEMORIAL STONE. . .

 

As you can see from the most recent update on the Mike Snider Park wall, we are moving rapidly with the wall's completion. We are in the process of placing all those memorial bricks that have been purchased,  although there are still many individuals whose families have made major contributions to the history of Gleason who are not represented on the wall.

At present there are approximately 15 spaces still available for placement on the area of the wall that is located just above the Left flower box,  should others wish to purchase one of these beautiful memorial stones to remember someone special.

If the person you wish to remember is a military service Veteran you may wish to indicate this, as there are still a limited number of additional spaces in the center of the wall, specifically for veterans.

Don't be left out as this project moves toward completion within the next few weeks, when we will be completing the landscaping for this project.

This is the last call for getting a memorial brick before the wall project is completed in preparation of its dedication (date to be announced shortly)

Should you be interested, you can copy and paste and print an order form by clicking on the link below or get a copy of the form at City Hall and send or bring your completed form and payment ($100) to city hall or mail it to the address listed on the form.

 

GET YOURS NOW !!

Send the Completed Form and Payment To:

Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund

P.O. Box 125

Gleason, Tennessee 38229

(Or take your completed form and payment to City Hall)

 

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Gleason Board Approves Wall

By Jason Martin

jmartin@mckenziebanner.com

 

GLEASON (April 14) - After a year of planning and preparation, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee received the green light to build a memorial wall. The city of Gleason's Board of Alderman voted unanimously in favor of the wall to be constructed in Mike Snider Park.

 

Jim Johnson represented the committee's plans for the wall along with photos of the exact location within Mike Snider Park.

 

The City Board of Alderman was informed of the donation of bricks from Boral Bricks, Inc. A 40-foot flag pole and 8 by 12 foot American flag will be donated by another benefactor.

 

 

Gleason Rotary President and Chief of Police, Jeff Hazelwood, added that the Rotary Club had agreed to team with the revitalization committee in the construction of the wall. Hazelwood added that the memorial wall would not cost the city any money.

 

At the time of the meeting, a supplier was decided on for the granite stones for the memorialization markers. The stones will be four by seven inches and can be purchased for $100.

 

Construction will begin as soon as possible.

 

 

Revitalization Committee Members at Tater Town Disc Golf Tournament

 

 

Gleason Downtown Revitalization:

A Look Back at the First Year

 Jim Johnson

GleasonOnline.com

As it  has now been somewhat over a year since the work of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee was formally approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, it seems appropriate to take a look back in order to assess the accomplishment of the Committee now that 2015 has come to an end.

Here it can be noted that, under the leadership of Charles Anderson as President, a wide range of projects designed to enhance downtown Gleason and the surrounding area have been undertaken.

At the outset, it should be noted that many of the activities that the Revitalization Committee has engaged in during the past year would not have been possible without the generosity of  those Gleason residents who have supported the work of this committee  during the past year. Their generosity has included furthering revitalization efforts by making contributions at fundraisers as well as  by  volunteering their time and talents in helping make various revitalization projects a success.

Activities engaged in during the past year have been of a varied nature. Some of these have been beautification efforts, other have been restorative in nature, while other, somewhat larger efforts, have represented a combination of the two.

Examples have included providing new and more visible handicapped parking signs throughout the downtown area, the painting of fire hydrants, providing flower boxes throughout the downtown area and making major repairs to the Senior Citizens Center to deal with significant termite damage.

A major initiative during the first year has involved making a number of improvements to Huggins Park, which had previously seen very little community use during recent years.

During the past year a number of the building in the park have been painted, an old rusty chain link fence that posed safety issues has been torn down and replaced by a brand new 190 foot section of white vinyl fence - thanks to the generous donation by Imerys Ceramics.

Thanks to the hard work of Luke Hughes, along with the efforts of committee members and others, Huggins Park now has a brand new nine hole Disc Golf course which has to this point hosted three successful Disc Golf tournaments, with the most recent tournament hosting the University of Martin Disc Golf team.

Park beautification efforts have also  involved the planting of several memorial trees,  the donation of a fountain (by Charles and Rose Anderson) and planting a wide range of flower beds to enhance the look of the park.

These park-related enhancements have resulted in many more citizens of Gleason and the surrounding area coming to the park to attend a various community events hosted by the Committee. These events have included an initial Revitalization Committee fundraiser, featuring Mike Snider and his band, a Gleason Movie Night which featured family friendly entertainment along with a full-service concession stand, the Committee's  First Annual Fall Music Fest, and a Chili Supper Cook-off.

These improvements have made Huggins Park a more suitable venue for an even wider range of community events that will allow families to enjoy wholesome activities and entertainment while also spending time with friends.

Another major beautification/restoration project completed during the past year has involved the painting of the J & P Auto Care building, as well as the outbuilding adjacent to the service station.

The painting of this business related to the Committee's belief that J & P Auto Care represented one of the major landmarks of downtown Gleason, having now been in business at the corner of Cedar and Main for over half a century.

Much effort was put into completing this work project prior to the 2015 Tater Town Special to insure that visitors to Gleason during this event might see the downtown area at its best when viewed along the parade route.

An additional fund-raising project during the past year has involved developing a Community Calendar that provides the dates of important family events such as birthdays, anniversaries and the like for Gleason citizens. The proceeds from the sale of these calendars help fund downtown improvements, as do all proceeds from activities sponsored by the Revitalization committee.

Completing projects such as these is seen as important in laying the foundation for obtaining grant money to support other more costly revitalization projects.

While a major focus of the committee is on beautification and revitalization of the Gleason community, another interrelated focus is on highlighting Gleason businesses, realizing that encouraging hometown shopping by promoting home grown businesses is a boon to the local economy.

During the past year, President Charles Anderson has initiated a "Gleason Business of the Month" initiative, whereby one local business is highlighted each month through a special article focusing on that business. The article is first published on the Gleason website (GleasonOnline.com). The Weakley County Press has also agreed to provide a print version of each article in their widely read newspaper.

During the past year some 10 Gleason businesses have been  highlighted in this manner. These include Gleason Superette , Jozelle's Beauty Shop, City Drug Store., Gleason Lumber & Supply Company, Floyd Greenhouses, Gleason Hardware, Eveready Auto Parts. Gleason Clinic, Steele Plant Company and the Bank of Gleason.

In terms of other items, it is also noteworthy that, during this past year, the Downtown Revitalization Program has also filed for and has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Tax Exempt organization. This designation makes it possible for those individuals making financial donations to the Gleason downtown revitalization effort to declare their gifts as charitable contributions when filing their income tax return.

Despite those things that the Committee has accomplished during the past year,  much more work needs to be done during the coming year (and in the future) to enhance the City of Gleason's ability to attract new businesses, to improve the economic growth of the community and make the Gleason community a  better place to live, work, raise a family and experience an improved quality of life.

It is hoped that, based on these initial accomplishments, the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee will be seen as  deserving of the generous support that it has received from the citizens of Gleason during the past year.

It is also hoped that there will be others who will join with the Committee and contribute their time and efforts in helping 2016 be an even better year in terms of enhancing the Gleason community. 

 

A Look to the Future !

Several other, somewhat longer term activities, involving the downtown area are also envisioned. Here, the committee has been exploring the possibility of  acquiring an old caboose, the necessary section of track, and moving the caboose to the site of the town’s old railroad depot. The preliminary thinking of the committee is that this old caboose could serve as a City of Gleason museum or, possibly as Railroad Museum to highlight the role the railroad has played in Gleason's history.

Also under consideration, down the road a bit, is the development of  a large decorative brick wall with a flagpole, flower beds, and seating area. Initial blueprints for this project have been drawn up by Jan's Plans of Gleason. Tentative plans are to use scrap metal from old Gleason railroad tracks in the construction of the arches of the wall -again, to highlight the important role the railroad has played in Gleason's history.

A Preliminary View of  the Decorative Wall

Graphic adapted from Jan's Plans - Gleason, Tennessee

An ongoing goal of this Committee is to keep Gleason Citizens appraised of the deliberations of the committee and up-to-date regarding the progress of the revitalization of the downtown area, support existing businesses by highlighting them on the Gleason website, encourage the relocation of new businesses to the Gleason community, and encouraging as many residents and businesses as possible to become involved in sharing their talents and resources in the revitalization process. 

Tax Deductible Donations to support " Downtown Revitalization" efforts can be made by mailing a check to the "Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund"

(Donors can deduct contributions under IRC Section 170)

Donations May be Sent to:

Gleason Downtown Revitalization Fund

P.O. Box 125

Gleason, Tennessee 38229

Or

by Clicking on the Donate Button Provided Below

 Copyright © 2016 GleasonDowntownRevitalization.comTM. All rights reserved.