The the new playground and splash pad at Garrison Park complete, the city of Crossville is turning its attention to future needs for the park.
City Manager Greg Wood asked the council to think about their priority projects for the park at the corner of Miller Ave. and Fourth St.
“We had a whole bunch of stuff planned for phase two. But from our experience, we don’t really need all that stuff,” City Manager Greg Wood told members of the Crossville City Council during the council’s Dec. 13 retreat. “It takes the cost down considerably. We can probably do it for a tenth of the cost of a grant.”
Some needs include shade structures, additional benches for seating, and pavilions for events. Wood said he had been approached by a local medical group about park needs and possible donations. Other items include large musical instruments in the play area.
The city received a $500,000 park to begin the redevelopment of Garrison Park, which held two baseball fields and a large grandstand. The city matched the Local Parks and Recreation Facilities Grant with a $500,000 investment. The first phase included the splash pad and playground completed in August. The city has also completed perimeter fencing, which the state required be removed as part of the grant project.
The plans had long called for a multipurpose field, and new Leisure Services personnel felt such a field would open up a number of new recreational opportunities, such as youth flag football, baseball and softball practices, even lacrosse.
“You could have four fields going on in one area,” said Mason Fox, program director.
Fox said he’d heard a lot of people express interest in youth flag football for younger kids.
“A lot of kids, when we were younger, our parents wouldn’t let us play football until we were a certain age,” he said.
But a youth flag football league could help youth develop essential skills like passing and catching before they started playing contact football.
The council asked for a layout of the field and possible cost to be presented after the first of the year.
Councilman J.H. Graham III asked Ethan Medley, leisure services director, and Fox to think about future expansion of Centennial Park’s baseball and softball fields, use for Garrison Park and use for city-owned property across from Pine Eden Church on Genesis Rd.
Fox said only two dates are left from March to October for tournaments. Those dates are currently on hold while tournaments firm up plans.
Graham said he wants to see plans for practice fields at Garrison Park.
Medley said the current fields accommodate most users, though fields can become hard to find while Just for Kids and Crossville Youth Baseball and Softball are underway from April through June.
Councilman Scot Shanks said, “But then they’re done.”
The fields often sit idle in July. Medley and Fox proposed launching wiffleball and kickball leagues to make use of the facilities.
Weeknight adult softball leagues continue through the summer and into the fall. In 2019, there were 11 men’s church league softball teams and six women’s teams. There were seven teams in the men’s softball league and no women’s league.
“People are wanting something new,” Fox said, pointing to the new leagues.
Medley said he and Fox had been working on several activities at Centennial Park, including a Kids to Parks Day and Family Fitness Day. With the basketball courts newly resurfaced, he hopes to organize three-on-three basketball tournaments, possibly turning into a new league, and dodgeball.
“Most of this will start in March and April,” Medley said.
They also hope to work with senior softball leagues, which play during the week and daytime, in the 2021 season.
Centennial Park can also make use of the new pickleball fields with tournaments, with collaboration possible with Fairfield Glade.
Meadow Park Lake
Meadow Park Lake continues to be a hidden gem, but Medley and Fox want that to change.
They hope to build on existing events such as the Kids Fishing Derby and WaterFest Family Fun Day.
The park offers kayaks for rent, offering the possibility of guided paddles around the lake.
“We’re going to do some guided tours. Bring your own if you want. If not, we’ve got them,” Medley said, adding the guided tours could be moonlight, sunrise or sunset tours.
There will also be guided hikes on the Soldier’s Beach
“There are reasons for people to get out there,” Medley said. “We don’t really have any outdoor programming, and that’s what we want to start with.”
One area in need of attention at the lake are camping facilities. There are currently six spots for RVs, but the spaces don’t have electrical service and the spots aren’t level.
The lake also offers small cabins and primitive camping, but none of those facilities are heavily used.
“People come there to totally get away,” Shanks said.
There are other campgrounds in the area, Shanks noted. Graham asked for estimates on the cost to provide 25 to 30 level parking pads for RV camping.
Future possibilities at the lake include more trails, including a biking trail. Grants are available to help offset some of the cost.
Disc golf also continues to be discussed.
Tourism and Retiree Recruitment
Graham said the parks and recreation department needed to keep an eye on the role their programs play in tourism development and retiree recruitment.
The city continues to work with Fairfield Glade regarding golf tournaments the city helps sponsor. Graham said he wanted Medley and Fox to work with Fairfield Glade Golf Director Jeff Houston to recruit an Ohio Valley Conference college tournament.
Graham said he’d like the parks and rec department to work with area golf professionals on youth programs, such as clinics or workshops that introduce new players to the sport. Shanks said pickleball was an excellent opportunity to develop new tennis players.
Medley and Fox have also been reviewing fees and fee waivers at various city facilities. Prior to the consolidation of parks and recreation, Palace Theatre, Meadow Park Lake and the Depot under the leisure services umbrella, each entity developed fee schedules.
The council encouraged the two to bring a recommendation for consistent fee structures.