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Board says yes to Tuxedo, Dana parks

Work should start this year on Tuxedo Park, overgrown in weeds now. Work should start this year on Tuxedo Park, overgrown in weeds now.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners committed to start this year on the first phase of Tuxedo Park and endorsed total new spending of $449,000 on parks and recreation improvements during a budget workshop on Thursday.

 

The commissioners agreed to set aside $200,000 for the 2014-15 fiscal year for Tuxedo Park on top of $225,000 currently available from this year's budget.

The board also agreed to:

  • $200,000 for improvements at Dana Community Park, including a playground and rest rooms.
  • $25,000 for repairs and improvement at Etowah Lions Park.
  • $24,000 for six retractable basketball goals at the Athletics and Activity Center.

Board members vowed to start work on Tuxedo Community Park this calendar, noting that people in Tuxedo, Green River and Zirconia have been done their part by raising money. Commissioners said they'd been hearing plenty from the southern Henderson County community about the park, which residents there said has long been promised.

"This is an issue we've been sitting on for a long time," Chairman Charlie Messer said. "The time is burning. Those people are working every Saturday with a garage sale or carwash or whatever. It's an ongoing commitment. We need to get this thing going."

The county's request for a $225,000 grant from the state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is pending. Board members said they would wait to receive word on the grant before appropriating the money from the reserve fund but committed to providing the initial funding of $425,000 even if the grant fails. The first phase of the Tuxedo work involves grading, a walking trail and a gravel parking lot. Preparing the site for development is complicated by the fact that remnants of the old mill remain underground, Recreation Director Tim Hopkin said.

The commitment to fund the Tuxedo Park, on the site of the old Tuxedo mill, led to a discussion of Dana's community park. Dana residents, too, are working to raise money and plan for park improvements.

The Recreation Department's request for $200,000 to start on the Dana park was not funded in County Manager Steve Wyatt's recommended budget.

"You know my personal feelings," Commissioner Larry Young said. "We've spent approximately $700,000 on Edneyville. Now we've already sent $300,000 on Green River-Tuxedo and I think it's Dana's time. We need to spend $200,000 on the park to get it where it needs to be."