PAYNE PARK

(Carmen Rodgers) Payne Park’s dedication was held on Thursday, May 27, at Payne Park on Central Boulevard. Pictured from left to right: Laurie Rygiel, , John Hammock, Bobby Payne, Griffin Pritchard and Mary Carol Payne.

City officials, community members along with Bobby and Mary Carol Payne gathered at Payne Park on Central Boulevard on Thursday, May 27, at 10 a.m. for the park's dedication ceremony.

The park was named after longtime former mayor Bobby Payne.

Except for a term in 2008, Payne served as Mayor of Tallassee from 1988 until 2016.

"I remember when you were elected in the 80s," Mayor John Hammock said. "I was playing football with your son. I remember when they announced it. We were at football practice and the whole bus went crazy. They were so happy for you."

Payne severed the City of Tallassee for 32 years. He served 24 years as mayor and 12 years as a member of the city council.

The funds to create Payne Park were accrued with grant funding.

"I wish we could do more. We came across this piece of property and we were able to acquire a grant through RCD (Resource, Conservation, and Development) to build a park," Hammock said. "For all of your years of service. It would be nice to have something named after you. That is the least we could do."

Not only was Payne the Mayor of Tallassee for more than two decades, but he was also a dedicated advocate for the city and all it held.

"You were always very spirited. You were at all the football and baseball games. And always had on your purple and gold. So, we thought it would be a nice touch to have a sign that says Payne Park in purple and gold," said Hammock.

The grant funding for the park is open-ended so there could be additional equipment added moving forward.

"We hope to add to this park as funds are available," Hammock said. "This is not the end, hopefully, it's just the beginning."

Before becoming mayor, Payne worked at the east side mill.

"We thought it would be fitting to put a nice place over here for the people in east Tallassee," Hammock said.