Public asked to share input on park improvements on Feb. 7

Published 6:06 pm Friday, February 2, 2018

A discussion about improvements at two City of Elizabethton parks is expected to pick back up, and residents are encouraged to make their voices heard about the projects.

Mike Mains, Elizabethton Parks and Recreation director, announced this week that the Parks & Rec Board will meet on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m. inside City Hall to discuss two conceptual designs created by Appalachian State University IDEXlab students for Covered Bridge Park and Edwards Island Park.

“We’re asking the public to attend the meeting to learn more about the results that were gathered from an online survey and give us their feedback about what improvements can be made at either park,” Mains said.

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Students arrived in Elizabethton in late August and worked closely with city leaders and representatives with the Elizabethton IDEAS Group and Elizabethton Arts & Cultural Alliance by taking tours of both parks and learning more about the area. Following the tour, students worked to come up with two plans, which were presented to city leaders in December.

Over the course of January, the IDEXlab at Appalachian State created an online survey for the public to participate in two go over the two project designs and give their feedback. The comments from citizens will be brought up during Wednesday’s meeting.

“We had 350 people participate in the survey, which we were very excited about,” said Chelsea Helms, Appalachian State instructor who is leading the group of IDEXlab students on campus.

Following Wednesday’s meeting, Helms added IDEXlab will take the recommendations from the city and public and put together one final schematic plan, which will be publicly unveiled tentatively late April or early May.

“The students have had an incredible experience with this project,” Helms said. “Ever since their first day in Elizabethton, they’ve really taken a special interest into this project.”

Helms also credited the work with city leadership and the commended to make this project as seamless as possible.

Different intangibles will go into the development of the study, according to Mains. The scope of services provided by the university includes:

• 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

One of the key components of the improvements, according to Mains, is to have a plan in place that will help showcase the historic Covered Bridge located downtown.