Committee hears updates on CTE project, ADA playground

Published 6:41 pm Thursday, February 3, 2022

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An ADA-compliant playground should be the centerpiece of a new Gap Creek park, according to some county commissioners.
Members of the Carter County Building and Grounds Committee discussed the Gap Creek project during a committee meeting this week, including the potential addition of accessible playground equipment and the need to reinvigorate progress on the park.
Board Chairman Daniel McInturff has a vested interest in the project as his son, Brody, is one of the children that could benefit from a more accessible playground.
“One of the things you want to do is to make sure your child can feel they are able to participate in activities just like normal children,” McInturff said. “There are only a few parks that children can go to that are ADA playgrounds. I believe people from neighboring cities would bring their children here to take advantage of the park.”
The project has been estimated to cost $1 million and would include a full-sized competitive softball field, a walking path and two dog parks — one for large breeds and one for small breeds.
“The key is to include the other kids playground around the ADA playground so it makes the playground feel all-inclusive,” said Chris Schuettler of the planning office. “I have been reading a study from the University of Wisconsin that says if you have a regular swing then you need to have one for children with special needs and that goes for other equipment.”
Mayor Patty Woodby told the committee that Ken Gough with the Carter County Parks and Rec would be invited to come to the next meeting to provide further information on the project and discuss what needs to be done to move it forward.
Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes said the city would also provide maintenance of the park but it couldn’t be done without a cost. “I will make the same offer as before that our Park and Rec staff would be glad to keep the lawns mowed and pick up the trash but we are going to need some numbers on what we are talking about,” Estes said. “Obviously this is something that cannot be done for free but I will make that standing offer … I just need some figures for the purpose of our budget.”
In other board business, the committee heard from Carter County Director of Schools Dr. Tracy McAbee in regard to the CTE project.
“We are on schedule to have the welding in place by August and the Cloudland and Happy Valley classes will be able to use that facility,” McAbee said. “We are also working on getting the chemistry lab up and running to help students in regards to being able to get qualified to work at Nuclear Fuel Services.
“Also, cosmetology should be ready next January. As far as the LPN program, we are waiting on word from the state.”
McAbee also said the Hunter Elementary Project was rolling right along and the hope was to get drawings out in late March for bids.

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