By Chris Gregory, Managing Editor

A long-awaited skate park was among the topics of discussion at last Thursday’s meeting of the county’s Parks & Recreation Committee.

Public Works Director Cliff Sallee presented a 3D drawing of a planned site in the park, in the corner next to the parking lot closest to the Tee-ball field.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
This corner near the Tee-ball field has been identified as a possible location for a skate park.

“It looks like a good idea to me; I don’t think we’d have any problems with it,” Sallee said.

The committee also heard a presentation from Matt Dockery, a Hartsville resident who has worked with County Mayor Carroll Carman to get the ball rolling on construction. The mayor has recently visited similar facilities in Gallatin, Mt. Juliet in Nashville to get ideas.

“You know the kids want it,” Dockery said. “To me, it taught me independence. Riding in a park like this is great exercise… it’s a full-body workout. It keeps kids out of video games and off the streets. There are so many positives.”

Around 10 children of various ages, accompanied by parents, were in attendance to show support for the idea.

The committee voted to show its support for the idea, but plans to wait until April to discuss the matter further, including funding.

Estimates of the cost to build a skate park were around $50,000, which includes lights and cameras on the area. Dockery estimated construction could take as little as 3 to 4 weeks, once plans are in place.

Carman later told The Vidette the matter could be brought before the County Commission in March, but that he was unsure whether he would do so.

“We basically operate under a committee procedure,” the mayor said. “There’s a measure of handling these things with kid gloves… I would hate it to go before County Court and then get shot down.”

“Building it through the committee process… the Commission is somewhat more responsive to pass it if funds are available.”

Committee members also received a report from Sallee on the park’s swimming pool.

Sallee said prices would likely remain the same for the 2017 summer season for admission, pool passes and concessions. Work has also been done on the plumbing and concessions stand. Sallee added that Public Works is already taking applications for positions at the pool this summer (call 615-374-9574 for more information).

Asked about the possibility of a water aerobics class for seniors,

Sallee also updated the committee on Trey Park repairs, noting that the drainage work was mostly complete and that grass was growing inside the play area. Replacement of worn play equipment is also near complete, with one piece left to install.

“Trey Park is looking real good,” Sallee said. “We still have to get the fence back up and we’re working on that.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.