Strung alongside of St. Matthew’s City Hall are over 400 painted rocks. Although different in sizes, shapes and colors, they are all part of what makes up a “rock snake.”

This rock snake, in particular, was an idea that Councilwoman Deidre Prickett found on Pinterest. She and her husband placed the first rock on June 14 —painted on it was the head of a snake.

“I had no idea that it would be this big and draw so much enthusiasm,” she said.

Her initial goal was to bring focus to the town’s new pocket park, a small park located next to City Hall. Soon after the project began, a friendly contest with the Town of Elloree started. Whichever town has the longest rock snake by Sept. 4 wins.

Rock snake

Izabellla Spigner and St. Matthews Police Chief Michael Smalls deliver rocks to add to the rock snake.

Mayor Helen Carson-Peterson of St. Matthews says that the rock snake is a “direct indication of town growth.”

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“Just like this rock snake out here is growing, our town is growing,” Carson-Peterson said.

She says the project is something that everyone can be a part of.

“We’re encouraging all of our groups, organizations, and citizens to participate. It doesn’t matter whether they’re old or young, it can be groups or individuals. However it is, I see it as a means of us coming together,” she said.

The Town of St. Matthews has an event committee tasked with brainstorming community-wide activities. Past events included family movie nights, bingo games and “Friday Night Affair,” an event-packed night with food trucks and entertainment.

“They have come up with ideas to help pivot the town into the right direction. Everything that they think of is something that the whole town can participate in,” Carson-Peterson said.

Rock snake

St. Matthews is in competition with Elloree to see which town can make the longest rock snake.

“The rock snake brings togetherness. People’s personalities are being played out, each rock is different.

We’ve had groups and individuals place their rocks out here.”

She says future activities will “have the same effect of people accomplishing things together.”

Carson-Peterson believes that more people are attending town hall meetings as a result of these community events.

“All before they felt like they were standing on the outside trying to look on the inside, but now they feel a part of it all,” she said.

Groups from different summer camps and the Calhoun County Council on Aging come by to add their painted rocks to the project, Town Administrator Rosyl Warren said.

Rock snake

Painted rocks contributed by community members to the rock snake.

She says that some shops around town are scheduling public painting sessions.

“It’s bringing our community together, plus it shows the creativeness of our citizens,” she said

Painting is a hobby for Warren; she contributed 4 painted rocks to the snake.

“I have several pictures in my house that I framed and painted. It brought back the creative spirit in me,” she said.

After the rock snake contest ends, the town plans to embed the rocks into a concrete slab.

“We want to make it a permanent fixture of our pocket park,” Warren said.

Carson-Peterson says the rock snake represents “blind love.”

“The connectivity is the thing. You don’t know anything about who places the previous rock and you don’t care. You just want that rock snake to grow,” she said.

To follow the growth of St. Matthews’ rock snake visit Town of St. Matthews on Facebook.

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