Harris Broadband and JDTC became the latest Brownwood-Early businesses to contribute to the McDonald Park sound garden project after making a $5,000 donation Tuesday morning.
During a ceremony outlining the future plans for the project, Harris Broadband Owner Phil Harris and JDTC Owners Daron and Jamie Waldon presented a check to Early High School Leadership Team Members Zane Dobson and Brianna Brown, who spearheaded the project.
“With their hard work and with the help of the Texas Midwest Community Network, this project is well underway,” Harris said. “These two young adults are great examples of what a superior educational system coupled with outstanding parents and a result driven city leadership can produce in our community.”
A sound garden is a small space in a park with elements where children can manipulate them to produce sounds. The McDonald Park sound garden is part of a project through the Texas Midwest Community Network group, which holds a statewide contest each year for students wanting to make a tangible impact in their communities. The nearest sound garden is more than 100 miles north in Seymour and, given the exponential growth of the Aldersgate Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt, it serves a community that goes unrecognized in many other cities.
“Harris Broadband is proud to participate with Daron and Jamie Waldon, owners of JDTC, in assisting in the development of Early’s McDonald Park. More accurately, the development of the new sound garden,” said Harris while presenting the check Tuesday morning. “If you are unaware of this effort, a sound garden is a handicap accessible playground helpful to challenged children. Autistic children have benefited by outdoor activities in sound gardens. It’s not just helpful to the children; it’s also helpful to the town’s growth. Economic studies show that not only will it benefit our children in Early and Brownwood, but parents will travel from neighboring communities so that their children can enjoy making music and playing in the park.”
The presentation seems a sign Harris and JDTC have long-term plans for Early. Earlier this summer, both businesses announced plans to install 32 miles of fiberoptic network throughout the city in order to provide Early residents with high-speed internet.
In July, the Early City Council approved funding $13,600 to fulfill the project’s original goal of $25,000. Early Convention and Tourism Bureau Coordinator Denise Hudson said she received a slew of donations including $5,000 in June from the Comanche Electrical Cooperative Association and a $1,000 donation by Kohler among many others.
Hudson said the outpouring of support from the community prompted plans for the project to expand and include an awning to protect the equipment from sun and weather damage and a second phase of the project, including more instruments, and is now being considered an ongoing legacy project with plans extending beyond the 2018-2019 school year. Officials with the City of Early, the TMCN and the EHS leadership team hope to have the first phase of the project installed at McDonald Park before the start of the Early Texas Showcase Sept. 13.