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Southeast players dig in downtown

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Seven members of the Southeast Middle School eighth-grade football team had a different kind of training session Monday morning when they volunteered for some landscaping work in downtown Salisbury.
The players became planters, filling the spaces between new lacebark elm trees on West Fisher Street with hollies, ground covering plants and mulch.
It was part of the improvements connected with the Salisbury Cotton Mills pocket park at the corner of West Fisher and South Church streets.
The new lacebark elms extend along West Fisher Street next to the Wachovia Bank parking lot where the downtown mural is located.
Benches, small crosswalks and a sign explaining the mural will be part of the final improvements.
The corner pocket park includes a serpentine wall with 87 clay tiles encased in it. The tiles represent the artwork of Rowan County fourth-grade students, who used cotton mills history as their theme.
The wall eventually will include a new History and Art Trail marker related to the start of cotton mills in Salisbury.
The football players relied on wheelbarrows, shovels and strong backs Monday morning, when most of their friends probably were still in bed. Monday was a teacher workday in Rowan-Salisbury Schools, meaning kids were off.
Despite their hard work, the players still faced a 2:30 p.m. football practice Monday afternoon in preparation for their big home game Wednesday against West Rowan.
Catherine Miller, an employee at Wachovia, enlisted the help of the football players through her husband, Fred, an assistant coach for the team.
Fred Miller and Mary Dale, a mother of one of the players, helped the kids Monday morning, along with city employees.
Players who participated Monday included Lucas Safrit, Cody Dale, Dennis Davis, Lucas Graham, Myquon Stout, Austin Taylor and Darius Gabriel.

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