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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Garrison Park action delayed until city knows about keeping fence and Field "A"

The tug of war between the new and the past continues to lead to discussion by the Crossville city council and still no decision made yet on the redevelopment of Crossville's Garrison Park on Fourth Street.

The council put off a decision on approving contracts with the grant administrator and engineer until they find out about the possibility of maintaining the current fence around a portion of the park and the long time ball field known as Field A. The grandstand structure is to be removed unless the city refuses to accept the $500,000 grant from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund and turning down the grant could negatively effect the ability of the city to get any future money through that grant program.
Garrison Park as it looks today

Tentative plan for the redeveloped park

The plan to redevelop Garrison Park was originally part of the city recreation master plan developed by Lose and Associates during 2014 and the mater plan was required to be eligible to apply for the grant funds. The grant to Crossville was announced in August 2016 and and the grant requires a 50 percent match. The grant included a splash pad, redoing the basketball court, new restrooms, walking trails, a playground and removing the old grandstand structure as phase 1 of the project.

Crossville resident Vancienetta Wisdom has spoken against removing the grandstand several times and addressed the council during public comment at the start of the May council meeting. She said, “Garrison Park is as much a part of Crossville's history as the Palace Theatre, the depot and the old Cumberland County high school building.” Mrs. Wisdom asked the council to consider keeping A field and using B field for the planned improvements.
City Manager and council discuss Garrison Park improvements

Crossville mayor James Mayberry moved to approve the contracts involved in the project and approve the necessary funds for the current fiscal year, expected to be $25,000. When asked by councilman J. H. Graham to be specific about the parts of the project, Mayberry said that he did not find anything in the documentation that said the fence had to be removed or that anything had to be done to the “A” baseball field. The grant does specifically address the grandstand and it is to be removed as part of the first phase of the redevelopment.

Mayberry's motion was seconded by councilwoman Pamala Harris.

Councilman Danny Wyatt said that an email from city clerk Sally Oglesby indicated the fence and field A had to be removed. City manager Greg Wood said that he would fight to keep the fence based on the amount of traffic on Fourth Street and that it was needed to protect the children. Wyatt said, “I want to know this before I support this.”

Ms. Harris asked Mayor Mayberry if he would accept an amendment that the action was contingent on the keeping of the fence and field A and he agreed to the change in language.

Ms. Harris said that she understood that the topic was emotional to a lot of residents and it was tough to cope with change. She continued that if the fence and field A could be kept that the other improvements would be nice for the park and the community.

Mr. Wyatt again asked about the approving the contracts and a budget amendment before knowing the specifics. City attorney Will Ridley told the council that with the amendment the mayor would not be authorized to sign the agreement without knowing about the two items. After additional brief discussion the motion was deferred, or as Mayor Mayberry said “kicked down the road” until a tentatively special called meeting in the next two weeks.   

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