Volunteers paint fire hydrants silver

Published on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 23:35 - Written by Faith Harper, fharper@tylerpaper.com

JACKSONVILLE — A new group of volunteers is working to get the community involved in sprucing up Jacksonville.

Volunteers from the new group Jacksonville Volunteers spent their Sunday afternoon beautifying their town and avoiding rain.

Groups spread out across the city with spray paint to give chipping and fading fire hydrants a new coat and shine.

The city — known for its ripe, red tomatoes — took a different approach with its hydrants, painting them shimmery silver. Organizers said it’s all about working smarter and not harder, because the color is more reflective and lasts longer than traditional red. The paint for the project was supplied by the city, and the labor was provided by volunteers.

Whitney Graham Carter, one of the group’s organizers, said painting the 600 hydrants in the city limits was the inaugural project for the group. She said the Cherokee County Juvenile Probation knocked out about 114 of them over spring break, community members and the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce painted another 150, and a smaller group completed another 200 on Sunday. As of Tuesday, about 70 fading hydrants awaited a fresh coat of paint, she said.

Mrs. Carter said the project was perfect to kickstart the group. The ultimate goal is to compile a list of volunteers, their ages and capabilities to call on to help complete projects, she said.

“We chose the hydrants first because it’s something that’s on every corner of town,” Mrs. Carter said. “We want to grab more people in because when you think about volunteering you think, ‘Oh, that’s going to take a lot of time,’ but it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It can be fast, easy and fun.”

The group has ambitions to spruce up city parks and gardens in public places.

City Manager Mo Raissi said he is excited to see the community investing themselves in the town.

“Everything so far they have done, we are very pleased,” he said. “They put lots of effort into everything they do. They get the citizens involved in keeping the town beautiful, and there are lots of volunteers that make a difference.”

The group is compiling a database of people willing to help including their time schedules and abilities. To volunteer or suggest projects email, jvillevoluenteers