Second phase of Hampton Watershed Bike Trails and non-profits funding approved

Published 10:42 am Friday, July 14, 2023

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Star Correspondent

A budget amendment for the second phase of the Hampton Watershed Bike Trails received approval Thursday during the Elizabethton City Council meeting.

Council members unanimously approved a budget ordinance amendment for the general fund regarding the trails at the city-owned property in Hampton. The project received an award from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s budget, which will be used to fund $270,000 for phase two.

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The project will extend the trail to the top of the mountain, according to Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains.

The Hampton Watershed provides 3.5 million gallons of water a day for Elizabethton, as well as 238 acres of land used for hiking and biking trails.

Over the past two years, the city, SORBA of the Tri-Cities and the Carter County Parks and Recreation Board have been working together to develop an overall master plan for the project, according to information from Elizabethton Finance Director and City Clerk Preston Cobb.

In October 2021, the Carter County Commission issued $75,000 to the city of Elizabethton for the completion of the first phase of the Hampton Bike Trails. The first phase was completed in November 2022.

For the second phase, the county, which has been awarded funds from the state, will process a check to the city. The city will then pay for the work with those funds, Cobb said.

Mains told City Council that phase three of the project will include a pump track and skills park.

The councilmen praised Mains for his department’s recent efforts on Independence Day weekend. The city hosted a patriotic event and fireworks festival at the Covered Bridge. Mains said numerous departments and organizations worked together to host the event, including the Elizabethton Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the fireworks.

Council also approved a resolution to approve the disbursement of $123,500 in funds to non-profit organizations in the amount.

Following the council’s approval, the Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center will receive $45,000 and the Loaves and Fishes Outreach Ministry will receive $12,000. The Boys and Girls Club will receive $30,000 and the Shepherd’s Inn will receive $12,000.

Other recipients include the East Tennessee Spay Neuter, the Second Harvest Food Bank, Carter Compassion Center, the ARM Food Pantry, Children’s Advocacy Center and Keep Carter County Beautiful.

Councilman Mike Simerly, a member of the Carter Compassion Center board, thanked the city for its contribution for the organization, which assists homeless and impoverished residents. Simerly told council the center is now open three days a week and has one part-time employee.

During the meeting’s public comment period, members of a new committee working to help improve the city’s golf course, spoke to council members about their efforts. The committee, which is expected to meet with the council later this summer, is gathering information about jobs at the golf course, the budget, needed staff positions, and estimations regarding maintenance and other needs.

Council members have heard from several individuals this year regarding maintenance and landscaping issues at the golf course, including greens that have suffered from the weather.

The Elizabethton Beer Board met briefly after the council meeting to discuss two items. The board approved a temporary beer permit for the “Third Blockstock,” which will benefit the Friends of the Carter County Animal Shelter.

Board members also approved a name change on a beer permit. Back in April, the board approved a permit for Daddy Mac’s Depot on Milligan Highway. Since then, the owner, Kathy Pell, has changed the name to Biggins Bang’n BBQ.