White County’s parks and recreation subcommittee has been awarded a grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to develop a systemwide master plan for providing a healthy environment for community recreation.
“We were awarded the grant – it’s a Healthy Built Environment Grant – in the amount of $40,000,” Roger Mason, the subcommittee’s secretary said, and added that the mayors from both Sparta and Doyle as well as school board members and the director of schools had contributed letters in support of the combined efforts that the plan will require. “When we begin working on the master plan, this is a countywide project.”
Mason went on to say the process of hiring a consulting firm who will, in turn, work with the area local governments to develop a 5-to-10 year plan in determining what is needed to expand and improve the parks and recreation facilities throughout the community, will likely begin in July.
“We’ve had some slow periods with this subcommittee, but I will warn you all that it will get busy for a minute when we begin doing this,” he told the rest of the group.
In addition to the new grant, the subcommittee heard reports about lights at the facility referred to as the old middle school, trash receptacles at the high school, and updates on resurfacing the outdoor basketball courts at the high school.
“We have lights, and they are awesome,” Andy Haston told the board, and said that 16 new LED lights have been installed in the old middle school gym, which is now being rented out. “I want to send a big shout out to three people. Without their help we probably still wouldn’t have lights.”
Haston said that Chad Marcum, the county’s finance director; Randy Alley, the school system’s maintenance director; and Dan White, who works for Alley, were responsible for making the project a reality.
It was also stated that the renter is doing the work to replace sections of the gymnasium floor that have buckled. Mason reported the county was purchasing the materials, but the labor was being done by the renter rather than at the county’s expense.
Diana Haston reported that two new trash receptacles had been placed at the high school, one being chained near the tennis courts and the other near the outdoor basketball courts. The receptacles were purchased through a Litter Grant so there was no cost to the county.
“I was out there the other night, and they were definitely being used,” Haston said. “There was only one empty bottle left on the courts. Everything else had been placed in the trash cans.”
Mason reported the basketball courts would need to be resurfaced, but that would include grinding down the existing surface where concrete had been poured to fill in old volleyball stations, and then asphalt applied and then finished with a marron and gray acrylic topper.
“To get everything done, we have a bid of $18,000” he told the subcommittee. “He would repave the walking path between the tennis and basketball courts as well.”
A motion was made, and approved, to send the repairs and upgrades for the outdoor high school basketball courts to Steering Committee A for further discussion and approval.
Alex Callis from TTU was present at the meeting and presented the group with a proposal for an 18-hole disc golf course to be built on the property adjoining the county baseball fields, on Highway 70.
“The only other full size course in this area is at Cane Creek Park,” Callis said and added that other courses weren’t available unless going to Lebanon, Knoxville, or Chattanooga.
Callis said a walk-hrough on the property showed that a high-quality course could be installed and, that doing so, would draw people from surrounding counties as the sport is feasible for players of all ages and abilities.
“As a committee, it is extremely cost effective, and it is minimally environmentally invasive,” Callis said.
He stated the majority of the course would be in the woods, indicating that it would be necessary to take down some small brush.
“By keeping this predominantly in the woods, that also leaves plenty of opportunities should you choose to develop the land in the future for something else,’ Callis said.
Callis estimated the cost of the complete build of the course to be between $10,000 and $15,000. He said this would include signs, installation, random materials, concrete for securing the baskets, the baskets themselves, and tee pads.
“This could be one of the best courses in the Middle Tennessee area,” he said.
The parks and recreation subcommittee voted to send the proposal to Steering Committee A for further review.