Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains reported to the City Council that the department’s maintenance staff has “been extremely busy maintaining 12 athletic fields as hundreds of youth are participating in local softball and baseball leagues.”
Mains said the maintenance staff has also been hard at work mowing over 100 acres of park land and picking up trash daily throughout the parks. He said park usage is increasing, creating more work for the staff.
“For example,” Mains said, “during the month of April our staff removed 818 bags of garbage from our park facilities. That is an increase from April 2018 of 188 bags. This year, during the month of April, we also removed 133 bags of garbage at Harmon Park, the site of the new pavilion adjacent to the Chamber of Commerce. In April 2018, only 64 bags of garbage had been removed. These numbers show a direct reflection of increased usage and that more than half of all facility users are non-city residents.”
Of course, one of the main items of interest to children getting ready to leave school for summer vacation is on the western end of town, at the Franklin Pool. Mains said the hiring of lifeguards has been a top priority for the staff during April. All applicants will be reviewed by staff. Mains said that during this period the pool also receives a considerable amount of maintenance. The department staff, with the help of state prisoners from the Carter County Work Camp, drained and cleaned the pool and then painted it for the upcoming swim season. Franklin Pool is scheduled to open on May 25.
The department is also organizing special events and activities, especially Kelly Kitchens, the department’s events coordinator. Kitchens said all the entertainers have been selected for the weekly Covered Bridge Jams, which begin the first Saturday in June. The free concerts take place around the Covered Bridge Stage every Saturday night except for the Covered Bridge Festival weekend. Also taking place in the Covered Bridge Park will be the free Show on the Doe, free movies for the family that will be shown on June 1, June 22, Aug 3 and Aug. 10.
Another event that is centered around the Covered Bridge Park is the Independence Day Celebration. Kitchens said the celebration will be like ones held before, with plenty of patriotic feeling and lots of red, white and blue.
Other events being planned include the Battle of the Bridge and the Franklin Pool Splash.
Not too many people are planning for the end of summer — except for the Go Betsy community service group. It is planning the annual Meet Carter County event to be held on Aug. 24 in association with the Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership’s Meet the Mountains event.
Go Betsy leader Chris Little wrote to the City Council to say the Meet Carter County will take place at Covered Bridge Park He said the event will include several Elizabethton and Carter County atractions, including music on the Covered Bridge stage, kayaking in the Doe River, children’s archery, children’s trout fishing, Air Soft marksmanship, BMX ramps, a free outdoor movie in the park, arts and crafts vendors, a food court and other attractions.