There are more than 80,000 rounds of golf played in Cumberland County each year among the county’s 10 courses.
But recreational opportunities continue to grow in the city, county and surrounding region. City Manager Greg Wood told members of the Crossville City Council during a Dec. 17 retreat there had been discussion of expanding the branding from the Golf Capital of Tennessee to let people know that golf is only the beginning.
“I had someone the other day say we have so much going on in Crossville, and you’re just not promoting it,” Wood told the council.
Councilman J.H. Graham III said he’d heard the same comment over the past 20 years or more.
“It’s the truth. There’s a lot of folks that live in Crossville, TN, that don’t know that we’ve got 300 miles of walking trails. They just don’t know,” Graham said.
He said he had proposed a community recreation directory to list golf courses, tournaments, trails and other activities, with distribution at hotels, stores and restaurants around the community.
“I’ve heard this and heard it and heard it, but if you can’t find something to do in Crossville, there’s something wrong with you,” Graham said.
Councilman Rob Harrison said the Golf Capital brand emerged from an effort to set the county apart from other areas.
“There’s so much communication in the world, you’ve got to cut through the clutter if you want to get in people’s minds. And you want to be No. 1 in something,” Harrison said.
The brand has been used in print and television advertising for many years, he added.
“We talked about outdoor recreation — hiking, fishing, hunting, all of that,” Harrison said. “You can say that about just about any town in Tennessee.
“But the thing that we had that made us the No. 1 in something was Golf Capital of Tennessee and, later, the Chess Capital.”
Harrison said the campaign was meant to draw visitors to the community and introduce them to all the other amenities and activities, like the Cumberland County Playhouse and parks and outdoor recreation.
“We’ve spent a lot of time building that position in people’s minds,” he said. “Let’s be real careful.”
Graham said the city has the potential to grow the tournaments played in the area, especially by focusing on tournaments associated with the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association or the Ohio Valley Conference.
“It’s important that we have a clear and direct approach as far as what we want to do in support of these tournaments,” Graham said.
The city sponsors three statewide golf tournaments through the Tennessee Golf Association. It’s also hosted high school tournaments and numerous softball and soccer tournaments.
The council received an update on recreation projects planned or underway at city facilities.
Work on the first phase of the Garrison Park renovation is continuing, though wet weather has delayed some work on the splash pad, pavilion and restrooms. The new playground is nearing completion. The council discussed scaling back phase 2 of the project to include some additional structures to provide shade and more benches. The large field may not be renovated, but it will remain to serve various activities, such as flag football, T-ball practice and other activities.
At Centennial Park, work will begin in the spring to convert the tennis courts to pickleball courts. Local residents have expressed interest in offering lessons to help introduce the sport to more people, and the city will be able to host tournaments in the future.
The Tennessee College of Applied Technology has agreed to work with the city to build new, slightly larger cabins at Meadow Park Lake. Construction of a new picnic pavilion is underway. Future plans include a new parking lot and multi-use building.
The sports council has been raising funds to add a disc golf course at Meadow Park Lake and expects to soon move forward with that project.
City Engineer Tim Begley said a bridge had been designed below the dam to allow access to the far side of the lake for hiking trails and fishing from the bank. There has also been interest in building bike trails at the lake, and the council supported the idea.
“There’s no real competition for that here,” Councilman Art Gernt said.
Graham added he’d like to see the city work on rails to trails projects between Crossville and Crab Orchard.