On Friday, the Hobson City Economic Development Corporation – a nonprofit group formed in 2007 to help revitalize the community – will hold the organization’s first gala at the Anniston City Meeting Center.
And on Saturday a ribbon-cutting for the recently renovated park will take place during the organization’s annual May Day celebration at the park.
Development Corporation president Eric Stringer said that while he hopes the Gala will raise money to keep the organization’s project going, “it’s so much bigger than that.”
What board members aim to do is change the perception of Hobson City, he said.
“Our whole objective has been to draw people into a process for change in Hobson City,” Stringer said. “You can always talk a good game … but it’s what you can do? What you can show people? That’s how you inspire people and give people hope.”
The park project, which has included new playground equipment, a new walking track, new pavilions and, in the future, more pavilions and the addition of restrooms, was chosen because of its scope, Stringer said. The board also wanted to give residents a positive change they can see and touch, he said.
Stringer estimated the project brought in around $300,000 in corporate and individual donations.
“We’re hoping that it gives the community hope, that they’re not just the forgotten little town down on the southern end of the county and nobody cares,” Stringer said. “Look what can happen if we do our part. That’s the bigger message.”
Stringer said after the park is finished, the next large project will be the revitalization of the town’s housing.
“There’s a nonprofit in Opelika that built 48 single-family homes in a depressed area down there and it turned the whole community around,” Stringer said. “But we felt like we had to first motivate the people, and that’s what the park project is designed to do.”
Friday’s gala begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m. at the Anniston Meeting Center. Diner will be served at 7:30 and live music will begin after a short presentation.
Individual tickets are $50 and can be purchased in advance by calling Stringer at 256-283-0900.
The May Day celebration begins at noon on Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. The celebration will have games, inflatables and horseback rides for the children, and live music from the Daybreak Band beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free to attend.
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.