Covered Bridge Park and downtown holiday events bring people together

Published 12:20 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2022

There’s a small park located almost at the end of E. Elk Avenue. It’s aptly named the Elizabethton Covered Bridge Park since the Covered Bridge is adjacent to the park and it and the Doe River are the park’s main attractions.
However, that changes at certain times of the year, like at Christmas time when the park is all lit up with Christmas lights and an ice skating rink is installed. It has a Christmas feel to it. There is the sound of children laughing and giggling as children try something new and parents enjoy watching their children master the art of skating.
Other times of the year, especially on Saturday evenings in the summer, there is the sound of music as bands take to the stage to perform for a park full of people, who enjoy both music and people.
Other times, it’s the perfect place for a young boy to try his hand at fishing, or for families to gather for a picnic. Or, it could be the perfect place for a stroll through the park on a summer evening, or bring some bread scraps for the ducks, who call Doe River home.
Elizabethton is blessed with parks. Just a short walk away is the Cat Island Park complete with a small walking trail, playground equipment, ball parks, and picnic shelters. There are other parks in the city as well, such as Riverside Park and the Kiwanis Park in West End.
Parks bring people together. They strengthen our community and make our city and neighborhood more attractive and friendly. Someone has written: “Parks are a clear reflection of a community’s quality of life. They provide a sense of identity for citizens and are an important factor in a community’s liability.” On any given day you can find someone fishing from the banks of the Doe River; someone strolling through a park. If it’s a summer day, children may be playing on a slide or swinging. A teenager may be sitting at a picnic table reading from a good book.
Parks such as the Covered Bridge Park and Cat Island Park provide local residents a place to be active for free, whether it’s walking, picnicking, fishing, or feeding the ducks. It’s one way to rediscover the outdoors. They are an asset to our community just as much as schools, libraries, ballfields, houses of worship, and other essential community institutions.
Elizabethton’s parks are well-used. They bring people out every day. In times past, people wanted porches on their house so they could interact with their neighbors and keep an eye on children as they played. They went to their local stores not only to shop, but also to socialize. They still do these things. But, have an event in the park, and people come out, be it music, ice skating, horse and buggy rides, picnics, arts and crafts, etc. People are drawn to lively spots, where there is a mix of things to do and other folks with whom to socialize.
And just as parks matter, so do storefronts. And, downtown Elizabethton is beautiful this Christmas, as most of the storefronts are decorated for the holiday. Storefronts matter in Elizaethton and most of the businesses downtown have gone out of their way to make them friendly and inviting. And, our sidewalks remain social places for people to shop and hang out. Our downtown is not only pretty and inviting, but it is very much alive.
From early-morning coffee drinkers to folks looking for an after-dinner treat at an ice cream shop, Elizabethton is a go-to spot. It’s also a good place to pick up lunch.
Elizabethton is small, but it’s becoming the place to be. And, this holiday season, there is much to do and see in the downtown.
Former STAR Publisher Frank Robinson often said: “If you plan your community around cars and traffic, that’s what you’ll get. But if your plan your community around people and places, you get more people and places.”
He was right. The downtown parks prove it as do the downtown businesses. The people that come downtown also prove he was right.

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