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
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.
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.
Charles Anderson - President
Gary Doster - Vice President
Ron Arnold - Secretary
Doris Owen - Treasurer
Groundbreaking for the Mike
Snider Park Memorial Wall
(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, &
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,
representatives of the Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee and the
Gleason Rotary Club participated in a groundbreaking ceremony on
Wednesday, May 27th.
The wall, which is to be
constructed near the main walkway to the park, in the vicinity of
the children's play area, will be approximately 60 feet in length
and 42 inches high and will include bench seating and flower boxes
on each end.
In the center will be a 35 foot flag pole which will be adorned with
a 6' by 10' American flag with a large rounded brick flower box at
the base of the flag pole.
Plans are for the two brick posts on each side of the seating
areas of the wall (see below) to be connected with steel rails made
from Gleason railroad tracks. These tracks were originally owned by the
Kentucky-Tennessee Railroad company, which owns and maintains the
railroad tracks that run through downtown. These tracks, previously used
by trains traveling through Gleason, were donated by Dale's Recycling
in McKenzie for use in the construction of the wall - to highlight the important role
of the railroad in the
history of Gleason.
Black granite memorial stones are to run along the inset areas
of the wall. A sample stone, in memory of Charles Anderson's parents
can be seen below. These memorial stones (which can include a
maximum of 13 characters per line and up to three lines per stone) can be purchased by
individuals who might wish to memorialize family members or
others who have passed or who simply wish to purchase a stone with their own name on
it, so as to show their support
of this community project.
Construction of this memorial
wall is slated to begin within the next week or so, with plans for
it being completed prior to the Labor Day weekend, in time for the Tater Town festivities.
If you wish to order your engraved Black Granite
Copy, Paste and Print the Form Below
(Or pick up a form at City Hall)
Gleason Downtown Revitalization
Memorial Wall Project
These bricks will be placed randomly
throughout the face of the Memorial Wall
being built at Snider Park by the
Gleason Downtown Revitalization Committee.
Memorial Brick Purchase Price: $100.00 Donation
September 12, 2016 cost will be $150
the engraving having to be done at the wall)
"What a wonderful way to memorialize our loved
ones for generations to come."
Memorial Brick Information Form
Name of Purchaser:
of person brick is in memory of)
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)
Gleason Board Approves Wall
By Jason Martin
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 35-foot
flag pole and six by ten foot American flag will be donated by another
The proposed blueprints for the memorial wall located
within Mike Snider Park
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
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
Construction will begin as soon as
possible with a completion date set before July 4.
Revitalization Committee Members at Tater Town Disc Golf
A Look Back at the First Year
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.,
& Supply Company,
Eveready Auto Parts.
Steele Plant Company
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.
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.
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.