City Parks & Rec, groups look to work with Appalachian State University

Published 8:05 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Improvements at Edwards Island and Covered Bridge parks could soon be on the horizon — with a little help from the Mountaineers from Boone.
The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Board met Monday evening and passed a motion unanimously allowing Parks & Rec Director Mike Mains to continue communications with Appalachian State University for a possible partnership in the future to address upgrades at both areas.
“This is a great first step,” Mains said. “Working together with Appalachian State, the IDEAS Group and the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance for this project has been great. Having this type of communication in place with Appalachian State allows us to work together in possibly forming a plan to help address improvements at Edwards Island Park and Covered Bridge Park.”
While the a partnership is contingent on approval from city leadership, the goal is to have all the organizations work together to address facility needs at both locations.
The goals and objectives of working together, according to Mains, include:
• Research and Development of a Design and Action Plan for the Project
• Provide Beautification of Both Parks
• Promote the History of Natural Resources of the City of Elizabethton
• Provide Educational Opportunities
• Have Recreational Programs and Events and Promote Scenic Aspects of Both Parks
• Identify Funding Sources
• Develop Cost Effective Measures That Would Lower Burden of Maintenance Expenses
• Reduce Overall Liability Concerns
• Identify Roles of Volunteers and Partner Organizations
Prior to Monday’s meeting, Jason Miller, program director of Building Science with the Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment at Appalachian State, toured both parks and provided information about what the school could offer.
“This provides us a roadmap on what to accomplish at both parks,” Chris Little, IDEAS Group founder, said. “Appalachian State would also offer the services of 19 architects — three professors and 16 students.”
A partnership with Appalachian State would allow various studies, including planning and design concepts, to be created to assist with improvements.
“Jason Miller provided a detailed presentation and tour of our parks yesterday,” Mains said. “It was a great and honestly important meeting. These are parks we’ve been wanting to focus on but with the support of groups like IDEAS and the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance, we’re able to move forward on planning. We appreciate them taking the time out to work in helping promote Elizabethton and our community.”
Multiple park beautification projects were also highlighted during Monday’s meeting. Creating tree buffers, providing colorful landscape features, using plants and river rock and improving river banks was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the improvements.
“We’re very thankful for all the support,” Mains said. “The Parks & Rec Department will work closely with the Historic Zoning Commission, our city leadership and go through the necessary steps to help make these projects a reality.”
While the organizations wait for approval to OK the project, Little added the IDEAS Group has been in contact with TVA for the possibility of approaching other items in the city to help promote the area.

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