State awards $200,000 grant to city for new splash pad

Zach Vance • Oct 25, 2018 at 11:05 PM

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation officials were in town Thursday morning to hand over a $200,000 check that will help fund the construction of a new splash pad at Carver Park.

The funding was acquired through the state’s Local Parks and Recreation Fund, and the city will provide a $200,000 match to build the roughly $400,000 project. The First Tennessee Development District actually applied for the grant, with the Johnson City Commission’s authorization.

The 2,500 square-foot splash pad will be located on Carver Park’s east side, in a green space between the pavilion and West Market Street. The construction of a new walkway and additional parking is also being considered. This splash pad will be similar to the one at Rotary Park.

“When you look at the use of something like this, and I call it the ‘built environment.’ These are things that are going to be here for a long, long time,” Vice Mayor Jenny Brock said.

“We have over 4,000 children who come to the (Rotary Park) boundless playground. So we know its going to be well utilized, and this just gives more opportunity for our youth to get outside and be active.”

Parks and Recreation Director James Ellis said the city will have to conduct an environmental study before creating a concept and sending it out to bid. He said the splash pad could have upward of 25 features, which includes the simple ground sprayers and above-ground components. 

“Once that (the environmental study) checks out, we’ll start with conceptual design phase, as to what we want it to look like so we can get the bid put out,” Ellis said.

The exact timeframe for the splash pad is still not known. Ellis said it will be a process that will likely span at least a year.

Among those attendance Thursday were: Brock, Ellis, Assistant City Manager Charlie Stahl, Recreation Services Manager Sam Miller, Carver Park supervisor Herb Greenlee, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Chairman Jonathan Kinnick and TDEC Recreational Services Coordinator April Johnson.

Carver, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, also opened a new playground in August, adding to its list of amenities. The six-acre facility offers an indoor gym, weight room, library, teen room, community room, arts and crafts area, kitchen and meeting space.

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