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Mini-golf moving to Edwards Park

Larry Phillips and his mother, Kay, discuss plans to relocate the mini-golf course from Boyd Park to Edwards Park. Larry Phillips and his mother, Kay, discuss plans to relocate the mini-golf course from Boyd Park to Edwards Park.

Park planning took center stage Thursday during a Hendersonville City Council meeting where the council and members of the public considered the future of a beloved putt-putt course and the possibility of a new downtown park.

Council members considered various options for the relocation of the Laura E. Corn Mini-Golf course and tennis courts at Boyd Park, including possibly moving the putt-putt course to a new park closer to downtown.
In the end, the council directed City Manager John Connet to begin planning to move the putt-putt course to nearby Edwards Park. The council also told Connet the city should plan for replacing the tennis courts at Boyd Park with new courts at Patton Park on Asheville Highway.
The direction to begin planning to move the putt-putt course and tennis courts came after pleas from city residents who want the mini-golf course to remain at its current location.
Larry Phillips and his mother, Kay Phillips, came to the meeting armed with a petition including the names of 1,550 people who say they want the putt-putt course to remain at Boyd Park. Larry Phillips also presented the council with a written statement. His statement came with exhibits that included the minutes of Hendersonville council meetings concerning the park dating from 1936 through the 1990s.
“In closing, I have laid out the City of Hendersonville minutes starting in 1936 (where) board members have preserved with minimal disturbance throughout the history of Boyd Park,” Phillips said as he read from his statement. “Myself and other signers have the same feeling as Bert Boyd. To preserve and protect our park for future generations.”
Council member Jeff Miller said he did not want the putt-putt course moved to a park the council is considering to replace the Dogwood Parking lot downtown. He said he preferred Edwards Park. Miller then addressed the Phillips family.
“I know you guys are very upset about this,” he said. “I know it’s not perfect, but we try.”
Larry Phillips began pointing out the history of the property before Mayor Barbara Volk said the time for public comments had ended.
Council member Jerry Smith said he preferred a future Dogwood Park location as a more visible option for visitors.
“It would be a landmark you see driving through town,” he said.
Once the council decided to direct Connet to begin planning to move the course to Edwards Park, Smith said he wanted the staff the make sure those plans did not make changes to Boy Scout cabins located on the property. A Girl Scout building on the property will be removed. Girl Scouts who used the building were relocated to another location in the city, Connet said.
In June, the council adopted a resolution authorizing an agreement that involves swapping 25 acres of the city-owned Berkeley Park for the county-owned Edwards Park property at Five Points.
Under the agreement, the city would get the property containing scout cabins plus a $100,000 payment from the Henderson County School Board. The school system would get the Berkeley Park land and the historic Berkeley Spinners stadium. City Council members and administrators and School Board members and school administrators have been negotiating the swap for months.
The city wants the Edwards Park land as a new location for the mini-golf course because it plans to locate a new Fire Station 1 on the mini-golf site. Hendersonville High School plans to pay varsity baseball games at the historic ballfield and eventually the School Board wants to develop other ballfields and tennis courts at Berkeley Park.
The council took up the issue of moving the putt-putt course after voting unanimously that Smith acted ethically when he voted to approve the property exchange with the county.
Kay Phillips filed the complaint saying Smith, a teacher at Hendersonville High School, violated the code of ethics when he voted on the issue because he works for the Henderson County Public School system.
Before the other council members voted to clear him of the ethics complaint, Smith said he acted ethically because he had never received personal benefit from his council votes. He also noted that a letter from the school system’s superintendent supported his actions.
“There is no personal benefit I receive as a council member,” he said.
The council also directed Connet to begin planning for a possible park on the Dogwood parking lot downtown. The plans for the park will include room for a splash pad, a recreation area for water play that has no standing water. Hendersonville’s Kiwanis Club is raising money for a community splash pad in town.
Council member Lyndsey Simpson said she expects funding for the pad to be raised in the next six to eight months.
“I think the community wants to see it done as soon as it could be done,” she said.
Council member Jennifer Hensley said she both loved the idea of a park at the Dogwood location and the idea of a possible hotel coming to the property. She said she worried about committing to a park when a hotel might want to locate in the area. Connet said two years is a good timeline for when a park at the Dogwood location might be ready to open. The city plans to move Dogwood lot leased parking spaces to the new parking deck once that facility is finished.
Miller said the council could withdraw plans for a park if a hotel wants to come to the location.
“You can punt if somebody comes along and makes you an offer you can’t refuse on that,” he said.
In other public comments during the meeting:
• Indian Jackson, a city resident, invited council members to attend a community celebration in the Green Meadows area of Seventh Avenue on Sept. 5. The event will include barbecue and entertainment.
• Crystal Cauley, a city resident, asked the council to consider naming its new police department in honor of former longtime city police chief Donnie Parks and its new fire department in honor of recently retired longtime firefighter Terry Martin. Both men are African American and no other buildings in the city are named in honor of African American leaders in the community, she said.