Development Corporation President Eric String recognizes the board members at the Hobson City Communitye & Economic Development Corporation gala. (Anniston Star photo by Shannon Tucker)
Eric Stringer and Bernard Snow had themselves a ball Friday evening. Actually, it was a gala.
Inside the banquet room in the Anniston City Meeting Center, 70 or so patrons of Hobson City Community and Economic Development Corporation’s first-of-its-kind fundraiser had good reason to be jovial.
Stringer, president of the organization, and Snow, vice president, are both sons of former Hobson City mayors and both say their mission is to improve the place from which they came.
The non-profit foundation aimed at revitalizing Hobson City had a great year, culminating in the renovation of Hobson City’s J.R. Striplin Park. The group has raised more than $300,000 in donations to complete the work and plans to apply the money raised Friday toward completion of the park project.
“We wanted to give the people of the community something they could see, touch and feel,” Snow said of the park.
It’s the first large project the organization has taken on, but it won’t be the last, they say.
Marshal Holifield, 54, is a lifelong resident of Hobson City, was a classmate of Stringer and has volunteered throughout the park renovation. Standing among the attendees Friday, Holifield talked about the progress he’s seen in his hometown.
“It takes a community to do what we’re trying to do,” Holifield said, speaking of the park renovation, and in a larger sense, the reemergence of Hobson City from a decades-long decline. “… And you can see some progress.”
For Katie Pyles, 73, memories of the park from her childhood years remain crystal clear.
“We used to have buses come from Birmingham,” Pyles said, describing how hundreds would arrive each summer to visit Hobson City. “It was a very big attraction.”
Pyles said she believes that could happen again.
“I think so,” she said.
The public will be able to see results of the park's renovation, which includes a new playground, a walking trail and a pavilion, at a ribbon-cutting today at 2 o'clock.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.