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MadisonUp campaign moves forward for park

MADISON – The MadisonUp group is continuing its grass-roots effort to improve the vacant property at 340 Gillespie Road adjacent to Hunters Trace apartments (near the intersection with Wall Triana).

Founder and primary catalyst Alex Riley is working ceaselessly to secure funding and eventually build a playground.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our underserved, low-income areas of the Madison community by providing multicultural activities and events, educational advancement, community service and volunteer opportunities,” he said.

MadisonUp is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, multicultural affairs organization that coordinates events and workshops and develops opportunities within underserved neighborhoods with community partners to help the children and families of an economically depressed area of Madison, he said.

Led by Riley, the organization seeks to unite community leaders, businesses, residents and groups “not just in Madison City, the County of Madison, State of Alabama but also the United States and abroad to bring about positive and profound changes in these children and families lives,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to build a recreation/education center with sustainable Green Energy to enrich the lives of residents.

“What gives me so much power, hope and energy is that I know what I am doing isn’t self-serving,” Riley said. “It’s for the people that need me to be who I am so the quality of their lives can improve.”

“Being the change you want to see in the world around you isn’t easy. (I make) sacrifices in my personal life, like (giving up) frequently partying, a girlfriend and hanging with friends often,” Riley said.

Riley has voiced his message during ‘public comments’ at Madison City Council meetings. He also has met and established rapport with Mayor Paul Finley. “Mayor Finley advocated his and the city’s full support for MadisonUp and our mission in the community. He highlighted work by MadisonUp at the council meeting,” Riley said.

Finley “also took the liberty in mailing a letter to the 1.68 acres landowner in support of helping us acquire the land to move forward in the next phases of funding and building,” Riley said.

“Let’s build a community where everyone can succeed,” Riley said. “Be part of change. Join the conversation and make the community park, playground and enrichment center a reality.”

In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, Riley moved from New Orleans to Madison. He graduated from Bob Jones High School in 2008 and lived in the Gillespie Road/Wall Triana area for eight years.

T-shirts, baseball caps and bracelets for MadisonUp are available now. To buy an item, visit store11682340.ecwid.com.

For more information, call 256-226-0174, email madisonup11@gmail.com or visit Facebook/MadisonUp.

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