Philadelphia city officials hope hard work will bring community together

PHILADELPHIA (WATE) -- The tiny East Tennessee city of Philadelphia practically needs a miracle to survive and now city leaders are rolling up their sleeves to bring their community back together.

Paul Stallings, the Philadelphia Mayor, has made a few upgrades to the city's aging town hall.

The problem is it has only been one brush stroke at a time. He and every other elected city official are volunteers who took positions no one wanted, and there is little money in the bank.

"I've lived here for 10 years, and I didn't want to see it go away," says Stallings.

He says for years too many buildings, like their library, have sat neglected, and now, their fire trucks have outgrown the fire station. That's where, he says, the new recruits come in.

Stalling's family and friends jumped on board back in November when he was elected into office, and they have already devoted hours to something bigger than themselves.

"It just goes back to our love for the community and our city down here," Stallings says.

Volunteers are also trying to bring their community park back to life by making small improvements like filling in asphalt cracks at an old basketball court.

They have also chopped down weakened trees so that families can have a fun and safe place to gather.

"We're having to take care of safety issues that have come up first," says Stallings. 

Jason Crowder, the newly elected chief of police, also a volunteer, is taking that issue very seriously. 

Crowder just kick-started a neighborhood watch program and he is taking more volunteers.

"I hope to see more come out of this and see more people volunteer their time. They need to wake up and try to get it back to what it used to be," says Crowder.

The next neighborhood watch meeting is scheduled for July 23rd at 7 p.m. in the town hall.

Volunteers have organized fundraiser's every Friday night at the community park at 7:00 pm. The fundraisers will be continue through September 5th to raise money for a new fire house and to pay for other improvements.

The schedule rotates between live music and movies. While the events are free, city officials hope to raise much-needed funds at their concession stands.