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Community Impact project paves the way for a chorus of croaks

By Brock Huffstutler

April 30, 2023

ARA Foundation Community Impact ProgramThe latest project of the ARA Foundation and The Toro Company Foundation’s joint Community Impact Program was all about making an area near Knoxville, Tenn., suitable for the croaking and lore of a species of frog unique to the area.  

Representatives of eight companies, who offered their rental expertise, equipment, and labor, completed the latest project at Legacy Parks in Powell, Tenn., on April 19 – April 20, 2023.  

The project focused on transforming 12 acres into the Angora Frog Farm — a park designed to tell folk tales about these hairy frogs that only reside in this special place in Powell. The recreational area also includes an interactive play area for children. 

“There are so many wonderful organizations in our area that could put these resources to good use; it was difficult to narrow it down,” says Terry Turner, CERP, owner, All Occasions Party Rentals, Knoxville, Tenn. “The Legacy Park Foundation and their Angora Frog Farm project just stood out above the rest.  This is a great way for our association, the members and our local community to give back.” 

“I love giving back and the park from this impact project is only five to seven miles away from our new location that we just moved to last month. And, we are supported by the local community so [volunteering was] the least we can do,” says Rodney Coker, president and CEO, Coker Rental Co., Powell, Tenn., and an ARA of Tennessee board member. 

The rental businesses and industry suppliers that participated in the project included: 

Onsite work included: 

  • Clearing of invasive plants from the grounds and prep for a walking path. 
  • Development of a walking trail — grading and laying down compacted stone and gravel. 
  • Construction of park features like bamboo musical chimes, benches, a bridge across the creek and more. 

“Overall, the project went smoothly and as a group we were able to spread over 200 tons of gravel on the half-mile walking trail. Without the help of all the participants and the Angora Frog Farmavailable equipment it would have been a substantial amount of work to finish,” Coker says. 

Turner agrees that the volunteers from the equipment and event rental community made a world of difference for the project. “We were able to accomplish a months’ worth of work in only two days according to the folks at Legacy Park,” he says. “With the resources of equipment, equipment operators and additional volunteers we really made a difference for them. Plus, this was the first Community Impact project that was able to receive a matching grant from a local organization — this meant double the impact.”   

Turner also praises the on-site efforts of his rental peer, Coker. “The local and regional rental stores really made a difference. I would like to especially recognize Rodney Coker. He was there non-stop throughout both days and also brought additional help. The project trail builder was quoted as saying we took six weeks off his buildout!” 

The ARA of Tennessee provided lunch for the volunteers onsite. 

A report on the project at Angora Frog Farm was featured on air by WATE-TV. Click here to view the segment. 

ARA Foundation Community Impact ProgramThe Community Impact Program, which to date has spanned projects in nine states, involves the ARA Foundation and The Toro Company Foundation partnering with local nonprofit organizations to coordinate community service projects. The purpose of the program is twofold: to allow those in the rental industry an opportunity to give back to their community as well as build public awareness and demonstrate the advantages of rental. 

Is there a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in your area that could benefit from a day or two’s worth of equipment and hands-on labor from the rental community? Consider submitting that organization as a candidate for the Community Impact Program. Click here to view project criteria and to submit an organization/project in your local community for consideration.