HALEYVILLE - The complaint heard from people in the City of Haleyville through the years has been, “there is nothing to do,” city officials said.
Well, that has changed, as the city has been offering a wide variety of concerts, movies and activities free of charge to the public at the Heart of Haleyville park on Main Street downtown.
“We’re excited about everything happening at the pocket park and citizens’ participation in it,” stated Mayor Ken Sunseri.
The Heart of Haleyville Park committee is composed of individuals, many of whom help with the success of the city’s annual 9-1-1 festival, to bring life back into downtown and keep that life thriving.
Sunseri commended the committee on these efforts to be diligent in ensuring we have events each weekend within the park,” Sunseri said.
“How many times have you heard somebody say there is nothing to do here? Well, we are providing something to do,” Sunseri pointed out.
The purpose of attracting large crowds to the Heart of Haleyville Park in downtown is not only to provide a variety of arts and live entertainment but also to showcase and support local businesses.
“The more traffic we can bring into downtown, will create a traffic pattern of people coming into downtown and to visit our businesses that are in downtown,” the mayor continued.
The overall mission is to involve downtown merchants in downtown events and activities, Sunseri noted.
This marks the first full year that the Heart of Haleyville park has been in use, with events ranging from live music to movies to other live entertainment acts being scheduled--all free of charge to the public.
June has already been a busy time for the park, as crowds are turning out to the free events, ranging from the North Alabama Dance Team to Mike Jones on acoustic guitar and Jordan Watters and the Rockin T’s band as the headliner.
In fact, Haleyville City Council member Brian Berry spoke out at the Monday night, June 19, meeting, commending the concert and the good crowd from the public in attendance.
“I thank the pocket park committee on their concert they had Saturday night. It was really great. A lot of people came out,” Berry pointed out.
“I don’t know exactly how many, but there were a lot of people out there,” Berry added. “The bands that played were really good.”
The downtown park features seating areas, artificial turf and a stage area complimented by murals of historical sites in the city on the walls of a neighboring historical building.
The green area provides a large open space for the public to bring their portable chairs and listen to bands or events taking place from the stage.
“The purpose is to draw people to downtown, to see what other businesses we have downtown that can give them some exposure as well, and get people to congregate downtown,” noted park planning committee member Will Walker.
The end of June will feature Haleyville Public Librarian Carla Waldrep telling tales and stories of the legendary Jenny Brooks Johnston, at a program known as “Aunt Jenny: Her Life and Story” scheduled for this Saturday, June 24, at 7:30 p.m.
July is already building to be an exciting month at the downtown park with comedian C.R. Hood and his puppet show lined up for July 2.
Steven Windom will be bringing his live pythons as well as the art of taxidermy scheduled for 10 a.m. July 15. Joining Windom at the event is David Kelley.
On July 22, the band Backdraft from Jasper will perform a mixture of country and rock starting at 8 p.m. from the park stage, noted park committee member Brandon Norris, who organizes the bands.
These live events continue the summer series into August with a talent show called Haleyville’s Got Talent Aug. 5. The musical group Outlaw Apostles from Florence is scheduled to perform on Aug. 12.
Other plans for the stage at the pocket park include plays performed through efforts by the Winston County Arts Council, but those dates have not yet been set.
“We’re still in the planning stages for more events,” Walker stated.
A list of future events as well as sign-up information on the upcoming talent show will be found at the Heart of Haleyville Park Facebook page, as they become available.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.