Huntsville, TN (2017-03-16) Known since its inception as Flat Creek Park, the only city-owned and maintained recreational park in Huntsville will soon be re-branded with the city’s name.
The Huntsville City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to officially change the name of Flat Creek Park to Huntsville City Park, a move designed to re-brand the park which has undergone major renovations and improvements in recent years. “It’s the right thing to do,” commented Mayor J. Dennis Jeffers, who announced the board’s intentions to the public during the council’s regular meeting. While the city council has agreed to officially change the name, the placement of new signage denoting the switch will be delayed, as town officials have decided to wait for the completion of the Flat Creek Bridge improvement project to erect them.
The Huntsville City Park is also in the midst of another improvement project. A recently acquired Tennessee Parks and Recreation Fund grant will provide new ADA-accessible bathrooms, another picnic shelter, and improvements to the softball field. The project also includes a new shelter and improvements to the municipal pool, which is located next to the Huntsville City Hall.
City leaders took action Thursday night to expedite the release of the grant funds for the project, which has been underway since February. By a 5-0 vote, the body approved an amendment to its Title VI compliance manual to include an employee grievance policy. The addendum was required by the state before grant funding could be released to the municipality.
In an effort to further expedite the project, the city council also set a special-called meeting on Monday, March 27, 2017 to hold a public hearing and second reading on the ordinance to amend the compliance manual.
Two other grant projects underway in the municipality are also moving forward. According to Mayor Jeffers, the Town will soon accept bids on a new clarifier tank for its municipal wastewater system. The town had previous solicited bids on the project; however, those bids exceeded grant funding. Engineers on the project have redesigned the tank and town officials are hopeful costs will come in under budget. In a related matter, the company currently inspecting the town’s sewer collection system for leaks is completing its work. Once the analysis is complete, Fulghum, MacIndoe, & Associates, Inc. of Knoxville, the city’s engineering firm, will draft a report for the town’s review. The clarifier project is being funded with money from a Community Block Grant, while the town is using funds from an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant for the inflow and infiltration detection project.
Following the council’s meeting Thursday night, community volunteers gathered at the municipal building to continue planning for the 2017 Fireman’s Fourth celebration. A month ago, representatives from the fire department and city leaders met with volunteers to discuss way to improve the annual festival. “(It was) the most community involvement I can ever remember,” commented Alderman Jim Morrow, referring to the turnout at the previous meeting.
While the festival has been a fundraiser for the fire department, in recent years, the celebration has been, at best, a break even proposition. City leaders are hoping renewed enthusiasm will spur new ideas and revitalize the festival. According to Mayor Jeffers, local businesses have already been very receptive and sponsorships are mounting.
“It’s a fundraiser for the fire department, but it’s also a celebration for the community,” Morrow commented. Planning meetings for the festival are open to the public and anyone interested in helping is cordially invited.
As far as the future of the festival, some city leaders believe it may lie in the city’s past. “We need to get back to our roots and our heritage,” Jeffers concluded.