CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL)-Results of a recent public input survey are in, showing Carter County and Elizabethton residents seem to want more places to play ball. Both governments are looking to fulfill that need with the prospect of building a new multi-use sports complex, that the survey shows is needed in the area.
Carter County Parks and Recreation board member, Kenneth Gough, said, “It’s pretty clear from the public input session that we had just recently, that the residents of the city and the county really want this [complex]. It’s expensive, we all know that … it’s going to be difficult to accomplish, but it’s on the agenda.”
Gouge said “It’s going to be months before we have any solid plans and it’s going to be expensive. We’re talking a budget that’s going to be in the millions of dollars.” “So, we will have to find a way to come up with that money, which will be a mix of local money and grants,” he said.
The proposed multi-use sports complex could include baseball, softball, and soccer fields.
Frieda Carrier is a grandmother to seventeen grandchildren and said she knows too well the struggles of not having ample county recreation facilities. Carrier said, “As a grandmother, I know that a lot of my grandchildren, who live in the county, have to come to the city to play in the league.”
“So, if they had a bigger better facility that was closer to the county that could give them more options,” she said. The city and county both seem to agree that a complex like this is needed for Carter County.
Gouge said, “Over 60% of the use of city parks is by county residents.”
Elizabethton’s Director of Parks and Recreation, Mike Mains, said, “Carter county and Elizabethton need this type of facility.” “This is something that is well worth spending the dollars on and it will make our community better,” he said.
Both parties stress that the proposal for this project is still in the early planning phases and, because of the big price tag that would come with a project like this, officials are hesitant to give it an official timeline.
However, there is one aspect that makes this project seem like a more feasible plan. Gouge said, “The city has a much larger budget but they lack property … We have property but no budget so together, I think, we’ll be able to accomplish a lot of things.”
Gough added that the project “is going to be a priority”. He said, “It was identified by city and county residents as what they want as a priority but everyone recognizes that this is the most expensive priority that we have and that means that it’s going to take a good long while to accomplish it.”
Local residents, like Carrier, insist that this complex would be great for the community. Carrier said, “There’s not much for our kids to do and I have 17 grandkids so I’m well aware of that … All of them loves sports so it would definitely be an improvement here in our county.”
Carter County’s Parks and Recreation Board meets Thursday night to determine which projects it wants to begin pursuing in the next year, including the multi-use sports complex.
The Elizabethton Parks and Recreation department has already determined that this project will be at the top of its priorities list when the time comes to submit its next recreational plan.
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