Elizabethton, Minnesota Twins reach agreement on stadium upgrade design

John Thompson • Updated Dec 14, 2017 at 10:05 PM

ELIZABETHTON —The city of Elizabethton and the Minnesota Twins appear closer to an agreement on stadium upgrades and new clubhouse for the Twins’ rookie league team at Joe O’Brien Field.

Mayor Curt Alexander discussed the progress with the Elizabethton City Council on Thursday night as the group was considering invoices submitted Thomas Weems, the architect on the project. Alexander said the city and the front office of the Twins have had discussions every Wednesday for the past several weeks and agreement has just been made on one of Weems’ designs.

The council also approved the expenditure of $4,000 to assist Carter County in purchasing 9.299 acres of property off Gap Creek Road for a new county park. In personnel moves, the council witnessed the promotion of two Elizabethton Police Department officers. Jerry Bradley was promoted to major and Sarah Ellison was promoted to sergeant.

Twins clubhouse and stadium upgrades

Alexander said Weems has been working on a schematic design master planning study for the stadium upgrades to Joe O’Brien Field. He said Weems has worked on about 20 designs, and the city and the Twins have just reached an agreement this week on the design known as Option 7, Revision 6.

The minimum standard for the designs were the requirements of Minor League Baseball, but the agreed design contains additional items the Twins have requested. Alexander said Weems’ invoice includes all of the work he and his staff have performed and it comes to $33,299.50. He said once the council approved the invoices on Thursday night, the invoices will be sent to the Twins, who have agreed to pay them.

Alexander said the final design is for 8,020-square-foot clubhouse, which includes a weight room and training room. Minnesota will provide furnishings and equipment for those rooms. The city is responsible for furnishing the visitor side.

City Manager Jerome Kitchens said the Minnesota Twins have not committed to any additional payments. Alexander said that might be worked out once Weems completes plans to be bid. He said the city has made it clear that its $1.5 million commitment is the city’s ceiling.

The motion to approve Weems’ invoices was unanimously approved.

Gap Creek Park

There was considerable discussion about the expenditure because the park is being bought and developed by Carter County.

Kitchens said the best way of thinking of the $4,000 expenditure is as investment in green space. Recreation Manager David Nanney told the council that green space on the west side of town, and such amenities as picnic tables and a dog park had been listed as the city as needs.

Kitchens said that need will grow because there will be residential development on the newly built Mary Patton Highway.

He said the county has proposed purchasing the property for $50,000. There won’t be any immediate development of the property. Kitchens said the county proposes to obtain grant money and private donations to develop the park with two adult softball fields and the other amenities, just as such money was used 20 years ago to develop the Roan Mountain Community Park. Kitchens said the city has made no commitments to developing the park.

The motion to provide the $4,000 to the help purchase the property was made contingent on having the money returned if the county uses the property for any other use, such as providing it to a company bringing jobs to the county.

The motion passed 6-1, with Sam Shipley voting against the motion.

Bradley promotion

Chief of Police Jason Shaw announced the promotions of Bradley and Ellison at the start of the meeting.

Shaw said Bradley has worked for the police department for 21 years and has been a supervisor for the past nine years. Bradley has served as a patrol officer, investigator, patrol sergeant, criminal investigations sergeant and for the past four years has been a patrol captain.

Bradley has been the commander of the special response team for the past nine years.

Bradley has been awarded several awards from the city, including the Meritorious Service Award, the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor. Bradley was also named the 2016 Officer of the Year for the Eastern Division by the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

Bradley also served four years in the Marine Corps.

Ellison promotion

Shaw said Bradley’s promotion creates a vacancy among the leadership positions. While a promotion process has begun for the vacant captain’s position, Shaw said he has used the current list of officers eligible for promotion to sergeant in order to promote Ellison.

Ellison has 25 years of law enforcement service and has served the past nine years with Elizabethton. She has served as a patrol officer and as a corporal. Prior to her service with the city, she was with the Carter County Sheriff’s Department for nine years and with the Johnson City Police Department for six years.

Ellison has also worked as a K9 officer with both the police department and the sheriff’s department.

Ellison also served four years in the Air Force.

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