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City Council meets in a special-called session

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
The Elizabethton City Council met in a special-called session on Thursday after to consider and act on a resolution to approve an application for the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) grant in the amount of $500,000 for the Covered Bridge Park project.

According to Elizabethton Park and Recreation Director Mike Mains, the grant was delayed by the pandemic earlier in the year but that he was made aware in August that the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department had made it through the first round and were entering the second round.

The decision to apply for the grant came about after a considerable amount of research and planning as improvements to the Covered Bridge Park became a top priority for the City of Elizabethton.

In that research, specific park improvements were identified by members of the Parks and Recreation Staff, Appalachian State University, the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Board, and local citizens.

With the grant, the first phase would include the construction of a restroom facility, a picnic pavilion, parking area, Covered Bridge entrance, upgrades to park lighting, sidewalks, fencing, replacement of the park equipment, and landscaping.

From a financial impact, the grant would provide $500,000 in matching funds for this project which would total $1,000,000 of needed funding to complete the project.

The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department would work to find private funding within the community to help assist with the $500,000 match for the city.

“When improvements are made to downtown park facilities, it draws more people to the downtown,” said Mains during the meeting. “That will help make an economic impact.”

Mains said that he expects that sometime around late March to early April the process will be finalized and work could possibly begin on or around June 1st.

“It looks like it would take two years to complete the project and we just need the patience of the citizens,” said Mains.

With the improvements, Mains felt like it would not only enhance the area that we already live in and around Elizabethton but Carter County as well.

“There are so many different projects that are backed up,” said Mains. “We are trying to work to get grants and donations and we would hope that there are individuals or businesses who could come to the table to assist.”

The Council unanimously approved for Mayor Curt Alexander to make an application for the LPRF grant.