TUSCUMBIA, AL (WAFF) - We were contacted by a frustrated viewer who was fed up with having to look at overgrown weeds surrounding a vacant building. Try as she might, she couldn't get anyone to help her get the grass cut, so she turned to us.
The site in question is the former Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia. In its heyday, the exhibit was a place where Alabama's rich musical heritage was celebrated and on display. It opened in 1990, but closed in January after state funding was stripped away.
A concerned viewer, who because of their job, wishes to remain anonymous, works in a building that sits directly behind the property. Through the Contact Kim email address, they sent us an email about the condition of the grounds. The worker said it was an eyesore, one that they were forced to look at every day commuting to and from work. They told us they contacted the county commission and was told they couldn't help because the upkeep of the grounds was a state matter.
They emailed the Governor's office, and after getting no response, contacted us. We wanted to see firsthand how bad it was, so we took a trip to the site. We found masses of overgrown weeds and grass: a property certainly in need of some attention.
After a little digging, WAFF was able to identify who was actually responsible for the property. We made a series of phone calls, including to members of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame Foundation board. We also found a number for the foundation's business office, which was still connected, and left a message there. An email was also sent to Wiley Bernard, the executive director of the foundation.
Mr. Bernard reached out to us the following day. He confirmed that he has received several complaints about the condition of the property, and that it was never his intention to let the property fall into such a state. But with no money for upkeep expenses, Bernard said, his hands were tied.
Following more phone conversations, with the assistance of Lester Echols with the Tuscumbia Building Department, a local farmer stepped up to cut the grass for free, in exchange for the hay he would harvest from the property.
The arrangement works out for everyone concerned, especially for our viewer, who sent us another email informing us the grass had indeed been cut. We went back out, and sure enough, we found the farmer cutting the grass and weeds, rolling it into neat bales of hay.
What was once tall grass and weeds is now a freshly cut and manicured property.