Reunion planned for Newnan’s Rocky Hill
by Sarah Fay Campbell
Current and former residents of Newnan’s historic Rocky Hill neighborhood have discussed the idea of a community reunion for years.
Now, it’s finally happening.
The first Rocky Hill Reunion will be July 26 at Willie Lynch Park, from noon to 6 p.m.
Plans are to make it an annual event.
According to committee president Sharon Ellison, the planning committee won’t stop with the reunion. The group hopes to do more for the community.
“This reunion is going to take us places we never dreamed we’d go,” said Betty Sutton Richardson. “I’m excited, because the neighborhood really came together."
Several months ago, a friend of Ellison asked her to put something about a potential reunion on Facebook.
The response was overwhelming.
“Everybody was excited about the reunion and getting together to see old friends,” Ellison said. “We want to bring the community together and have fellowship and community again.”
The reunion is for current and former residents of Rocky Hill, and anybody else who has a connection to the community.
Former residents from Detroit, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., have already indicated they’re planning to come to the reunion.
“The family from Detroit is bringing two or three car loads,” Ellison said. “That says a lot about this event."
The boundaries of Rocky Hill have expanded over the years and include multiple generations. The neighborhood stretches from Fair Street to Rowe Street north to south, and Belt Road to Richard Allen Drive and St. Clair Street.
For many years, the heart of Rocky Hill was Calhoun Grocery, located on the corner of Boone Drive and Lovelace Street.
Ellison remembers the store fondly. “That was the community store,” Ellison said. “William Calhoun (owner) made sure if your family didn’t have any money for food, you could go to the corner store and get credit. He helped a lot of people and families not go hungry.”
Calhoun Grocery is featured on the reunion T-shirts, in a picture from when the store was still operating. The T-shirts have been so popular that there is currently a hold on ordering them.
The reunion will include inflatables for the kids, sno-cone machines, face painting, music, and lots of food. The Wesley Street Gym will be open, with air conditioning.
Richardson, Henri Jean Stewart and Vivian Smith are in charge of food. Donations are welcome – of food or money. Food items can be dropped off Friday or Saturday at 129 West Washington St., or brought to Lynch Park. Checks should be made out to Rocky Hill Reunion.
Organizers are also looking for games for everyone to enjoy, including cards, dominos and outdoor games.
Minister Chris Carlisle and his wife, and Minister Linda Dixon, will be speaking at the gym.
Though the reunion was already in the planning stages before the rash of violence that broke out in Newnan communities in late March, organizers decided to address it with some motivational speaking.
“We want the community’s youth to know we care about them,” Ellison said. “ If one male or one female will hear something that will change their life, it was a success.”
“There’s been so much tragedy over the last six months or so. So much shooting, all this negative energy,” Bohannon said. The reunion is “something positive,” he added.
For more information about food, call Richardson at 678-558-3664 or 770-251-5404. For more information about the event e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .