Aged and rotted tree on courthouse square removed; annual festival will go on

The organizers of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, which is in its 44th year of community celebration, had a moment of concern when they were informed that an aged tree on the old courthouse square posed a potential danger to anyone on the grounds. The downtown square has been the site for the festival for most of those 44 years. The Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, which supervises use of the old courthouse square, posted yellow caution tape barring the two largest trees on the grounds from close access. This action raised concern among many in the community. The constant questions became: What about our festival? Will we still have our festival in August on the old courthouse square with the blues and gospel stage, assorted handcrafts, and a variety of foods?
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 24 and Sunday August 25, 2019 and the festival will go on.
Chamber President, Beverly Gordon, was very diligent in seeking solutions to the tree dilemma. The huge oak tree situated behind the former office of the county circuit clerk on the square was visibly rotted and a hazard that needed to be removed. Ms. Gordon consulted with city and county officials including the Greene County Cooperative Extension Office for input and assistance. Subsequently, an arrangement was worked out with Mrs. Lovie Burrell Parks, County Extension Coordinator to secure resources through an AlPro Health Obesity Grant, funded through Auburn University.
According to Mrs. Parks, Greene is one of 13 counties, with adult obesity rates greater than 40%, funded through local community coalitions in support of initiatives to reduce obesity by providing increase access to healthy foods and places for physical activity. She explained that the Eutaw Community Coalition readily applied some of its ALPro Health grant funds to defray the cost to remove the rotted tree, since the sidewalk around the old courthouse square is utilized for healthy walks by many in the community. The benches on the square, also provided by the project, serve the needs of individuals walking for better health.
“ The cutting of the tree will allow community citizens to walk around the square for more physical activity in greater safety,” Parks said. She extended a special thank you to the Eutaw Community Coalition for allowing this project to take place in the Eutaw city square.

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