City presented $500,000 grant for Covered Bridge Park

Published 9:18 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2021

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A $500,000 state grant will help the City of Elizabethton with planned enhancements to the Covered Bridge Park.
Officials with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) held a check presentation ceremony Wednesday at the Covered Bridge to present the matching grant to the parks and recreation department.
“We cannot be more excited about what took place today (and) for the opportunity that we have,” said Elizabethton Park and Recreation Director Mike Mains.  “We are so thankful for TDEC and the state representatives that have supported this wonderful project in Elizabethton.
“It is something that we have been working on for years now and along the way we have added different programming and special events to this park. It’s really paid off for the City of Elizabethton, our downtown area, and first and foremost for the citizens.”
The grant is part of $7,584,530 awarded to communities throughout the state from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program. The state is also awarding $1,892,642 in grants from the Recreation Trails Program (RTP).
“It is such an honor to bring $500,000 to do additional things for our community,” said state Rep. John Holsclaw. “The Covered Bridge is probably one of the most iconic things in Elizabethton now, so we are going to see that be our shining star for people to go visit and it’s critical to have this money to use.”
Mains added that the city looks forward to beginning construction on a new pavilion, restrooms, lighting, and landscaping. The city will provide the matching funds for the $1 million project.
“The City Council made that commitment by coming in and saying that we need to do this and matched it with $500,000,” Mains said. “I think what we are doing is creating an identity for Elizabethton and Carter County – one that focuses on our natural resources and the beauty of the Doe River. And,  we are making an investment in that to attract people here .. we are taking care of citizens first and foremost.”
The grant allows three years for completion of the project.
“The challenges we are going to face is all the activities that are going to be going on here through the year such as Covered Bridge Days,” Mains said, adding some events may need to be relocated to accommodate construction.
“At the end of the day, we are talking about a vision that we have had for quite some time and it’s going to be very, very special. About seven years ago we saw this project and how wonderful it would be for Elizabethton and Carter County, and it’s good to see this day come to see TDEC and all the state officials behind us as well.”

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