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New life blooms at Jonesboro firehouse museum after Comcast Cares Day

City councilwoman Pat Sebo says new rose bushes first step in landscaping improvement

Volunteers plant rose bushes outside the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center during the city’s Comcast Cares Day service project Saturday. In all, 30 volunteers worked on the project throughout the week, a Comcast official said. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Volunteers plant rose bushes outside the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center during the city’s Comcast Cares Day service project Saturday. In all, 30 volunteers worked on the project throughout the week, a Comcast official said. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — Twenty volunteers showed up at the Jonesboro Firehouse Museum and Community Center just as the sun was starting to rise Saturday morning and got down to the business of playing in the dirt.

The volunteers were a mix of Jonesboro officials, Comcast Cable employees, Clayton County Chamber of Commerce leaders, spouses and children. As they arrived and signed in, they put on green T-shirts that told the story of why they had gathered at the community center.

They were there to plant rose bushes as part of the nationwide Comcast Cares Day.

“Comcast works in the community daily and this is our cornerstone day of service where we give something back to the community,” said Comcast Right-of-Way Liaison Deborah Collins.

In all, the work was done in about an hour and a half. That included digging holes for the bushes and using shovel handles to make sure the plants were spread out at equidistant intervals along the exterior wall facing West Mill Street.

Some volunteers also helped clean up and dust the inside of the center.

“We just wanted to spruce the place up a little bit because we have so many people who rent it for events and we want to make sure it looks nice for them,” said city Councilwoman Pat Sebo.

Sebo is the city’s liaison with Comcast on the annual project. She said in addition to planting the bushes, the city will be doing other landscaping work soon to improve the outside of the community center.

“We’re going to be laying down new sod soon, so this gave us a chance to plant the rose bushes beforehand,” said Sebo.

This is the third consecutive year Clayton County Comcast employees have partnered with Jonesboro officials on a project. Two years ago, the volunteers fixed up Dixon Park at the corner of McDonough and West Mill streets. Last year, they spruced up the rose garden next to the old Pope Dixon Funeral Home.

Pope Dixon owner donated the garden to the city less than a year before that project as the funeral home was being shut down.

Collins said Comcast volunteers also plan to fix up a vegetable garden at Hawthorne Elementary School in the future.

As each bush was laid into its respective hole, cow manure was mixed in with the dirt that had been removed to make the holes. The dirt and manure combination was then scooped in around the plants roots, planting fabric was laid down around the base of each plant and red mulch was then spread out on top of the fabric.

Mary Bruce, wife of city Councilman Jack Bruce, then came along and pruned dying leaves off the bushes in case any of them were infected with diseases.

“If the leaves fall on the ground, it could contaminate the soil,” said Bruce, who is described by her husband as an avid gardener.

Collins said about 30 volunteers worked on the Jonesboro Comcast Cares project, including the people who came out Saturday morning and volunteers who came by earlier in the week to do site preparation work. About 3,500 Comcast employees volunteered for projects conducted across metro Atlanta Saturday, she added.

“We’re all over the area today doing community service projects such as rebuilding playgrounds, painting community centers and that sort of thing,” said Collins.