City to look at possible Appalachian State, Parks & Rec partnership

Published 4:36 pm Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Development of local parks will be discussed by city officials this week.
The Elizabethton City Council will convene Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at City Hall for their regularly scheduled meeting and the topic of a partnership between Parks and Recreation and Appalachian State University to develop long- and short-term improvements at Covered Bridge and Edwards Island Park will be batted around.
Councilmen will vote to consider action to approve an Education Letter of Agreement with the school to provide services for both locations.
Parks and Recreation first delved into the program with help from the Elizabethton IDEAS Group and the Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance in March when they welcomed Jason Miller, Building Science Program Director with the Department of Sustainable Technology and Built Environment at Appalachian State.
“We appreciate Mr. Miller stopping by to tour our parks and meet with our Parks & Rec Board,” Mains told the Elizabethton Star Tuesday. “Our Parks & Rec Board voted unanimously to offer their support for a partnership. We think it’s a great opportunity to work together with a professional to continue improvements of our local parks.”
The partnership, which is contingent of City Council approval, could offer a variety of tools for Parks & Rec to utilize, including:
• 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
Continual development is an item Parks & Rec is furthering for the future. With certain improvements already in effect, Mains added the department is moving forward with offering various programs to the public — while eyeing other projects for the future.
“We hope our citizens are paying attention, because our parks have come a long way over the years,” Mains said. “And that couldn’t be possible without city leadership, our staff and the citizens of the community. We’re looking at adding more and more opportunities for citizens to come out and enjoy what the city has to offer.”
The agenda doesn’t slow down in the coming months for the department, either. With increased traffic at the parks and success of the summer events like the Covered Bridge Jam sessions and Independence Day Celebration, the department also has a bevy of activities on the horizon, including the Show on the Doe and the Tweetsie Trail Treasure Trip.
Mains added the department is working alongside multiple volunteer groups, including the IDEAS Group, Elizabethton Arts and Cultural Alliance and Carter County Proud for projects on the horizon.
“There have been so many different volunteer groups forming over the past couple of years and we’ve been approached with different projects,” Mains said. “Whether it’s beautification, park improvements, we want work alongside our citizens to provide something special for the public.”
In other business Thursday, the City will look at appointing two representatives for the newly-created Animal Shelter Steering Committee. The group was formed following the resignation of Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey as the oversight chair of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter. The board, spearheaded by Commissioner Buford Peters, will feature representation from the city, county and shelter.

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