By Jim Young
In what a state official described as one of the most well attended public input meetings she had seen, citizens and officials of the city of Crossville looked at future plans for community recreation.
The city has formed a recreation task force looking at the possibility of upcoming funding available through the state. Part of the process included a public input meeting that was held at Crossville City Hall earlier this month. Several plans the city has looked at in the past were presented and public suggestions were accepted from those who attended.
The meeting began with an explanation of the Tennessee Environment and Conservation grant programs that the city would be eligible for by Jenni Brinkman, TDEC regional director for external affairs. The city can apply for one of two grants, a larger 50/50 share grant or a smaller grant that only requires a 20 percent match from local funds. One theme that came up again and again during discussion at the meeting was that whatever recreational activities were chosen they should especially benefit children in the community.
Following the presentations and discussions each person who attended was given a sticker to vote on the plan or project they preferred to see the city work toward.
Projects presented by city clerk Sally Oglesby included plans the city has considered and studied over the last several years including green way trails between Holiday Hills and the Obed River Park and a second leg between the Obed River Park and Centennial Park.
A project for the Warner Complex at Centennial Park would replace the current wooden light poles with metal ones and new more energy efficient lighting. The estimated cost of this project would be $440,000.
Also presented was a possible project to rebuild the grandstands at Garrison Park ball field on Fourth Street. The facility is near several schools and was built in 1947 when Crossville had a semi-pro baseball team. No cost estimate has been formulated on the project yet.
A project that had several supporters present was for a new football complex that could be used by the children and youth football programs as well as adult touch and flag football.
A new proposal of hiking trails around Meadow Park Lake was presented and additional possible projects under consideration for the city lake property including a playground, swimming, basketball courts and a splash pad.
Another project considered a few years ago and often referred to as a YMCA indoor recreation complex could include a pool, gym and exercise facilities. This is probably the most expensive project the city has considered with an estimated cost of up to $10 million.
Back in 1994, the city looked at the possibility of building a water park as a way to attract regional visitors and other tourists to the area during the summer. The cost then was estimated at $1.5 million but would cost more than that now.
Citizens who attended the meeting had some of their own suggestions including pickleball courts, described as one of the fastest growing sports in America. Another suggestion was for the growing sport of disc golf that can be easily set up and is very inexpensive to play and operate.
Once the discussion was over, citizens were each given one sticker to place on their favorite program and the first place ranked project with 27 out of 79 votes was the indoor recreation facility. In second place was the football complex with 10 votes and third with 8 votes was pickleball courts. Votes were also cast for Meadow Park Lake hiking, biking and horseback trails and the greenway trail from Centennial Park to Obed River Park, each with 7 votes.
A bike trail from the downtown Crossville Depot to Peavine Road received 6 votes. Disc golf received 4 votes and upgrades at Centennial Park and Meadow Park Lake improvements including swimming, camping and other activities both received 3 votes. Projects receiving 1 vote each included swimming at Meadow Park Lake, Garrison Park grandstand renovation, a water park and Warner Complex field lights.
The city's recreational task force will study the results and make recommendations concerning projects and possible grant funding to the council. The Crossville City Council will make the final decision on projects.