ELIZABETHTON — The completion of a bicycle and hiking trail that has been under construction for decades is one of the top priorities listed in the goals and objectives of the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Department.
These goals and objectives for the period 2021 to 2030 can be found in the Parks and Recreation Department’s 10-year Master Plan, which was developed by the Parks and Recreation Board and has been approved by the Elizabethton City Council.
The priorities of the Master Plan were discussed in the November edition of the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation Newsletter. It lists the completion of the Elizabethton Linear Path; improvements to the Covered Bridge Park; the extension of the Hampton Watershed Bike and Hiking Trail; and Surf Betsy.
In addition to these plans, the Board also included the possible partnership with the Carter County Parks and Recreation Committee to build a new park near the start of the new Mary Patton Highway.
Another consideration is the desire to build a skate park.
The completion of the Linear Path would be noteworthy for no other reason than the long time it has been under development. Work began on the trail in the 1980s. With the exception of the Tweetsie Trail, the Linear Trail impacts more parts of the city, extending from Sycamore Shoals in the west to East Side in the east.
The trail begins near East Side Elementary School and follows the Doe River to the confluence with the Watauga River, then west along the Watauga to Sycamore Shoals.
In addition to recreation facility projects, programs and special events are also priorities. The newsletter reported that work is ongoing to plan and implement several events, including the Covered Bridge Days, which has recently been acquired by the Parks and Recreation Department from the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce. That event coincides with the department’s Covered Bridge Jams, the summer series of free concerts at Covered Bridge Park held nearly every Saturday night during the season.
Athletic leagues and tournament play is also a priority in the Master Plan. New pickle ball, kick ball, whiffle ball and other athletic leagues will be offered for the first time in 2021, and the department plans to open its baseball and softball facilities on weekends for travel ball tournament play.
To view the entire 10-year Master Plan, go to www.elizabethton.org and click on the link to the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation page.