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Dog park faces continued delays

By LISA WHALEY

Publisher

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Jonesborough’s proposed dog park is still without a home.

At a Monday night Board of Mayor and Aldermen special workshop, the BMA was unable to nail down a location for the park, which has been in the works since 2018 when then-gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd offered $25,000 in matching dog park funds to approved proposals.

“We probably didn’t foresee into the future as much as we should have,” Jonesborough Chuck Vest admitted during workshop discussion. 

In the beginning, according to town officials, the dog park seemed to be faced with only smooth sailing.

The Jonesborough Civitan Club had offered an additional $25,000 for the park and a site had been selected on Old State Route 34 on the former Rosenbaum property next to the proposed fleet maintenance facility.

“Sometime after that,” said Town Adminstrator Glenn Rosenoff, “(the plan) just derailed,” 

At issue, he said, was TDOT’s refusal to approve the dog park’s access, a separate entrance from that of the nearby fleet maintenance facility and one designed to maximize the space and minimize traffic issues.

Concerns also arose over the increased expense for another entrance for the park, the possible need for future expansions of fleet maintenance facility and whether an initial accompanying walking trail was still important. 

 The question that began to echo, according to Rosenoff was “what to do next?”

Delays also resulted in the Kiwanis Club pulling their support.

Up for discussion Monday night were three different plans located on two separate sites.

According to information provided by the town,  Plan A and B are both located at the park’s original site, formerly known as the Rosenbaum property, and adhering the closest to the dog park’s original vision..

Overall cost for Plan A was estimated at $196,829. Overall cost for Plan B was $166, 324.

Plan C, first proposed in October of 2020, would be set at Persimmon Ridge Park and would come in at $155,335.

Cost aside, “I think they all have really good merits,” Rosenbaum said.

For Alderman Terry Countermine, despite the potential cost-saving measures, the Persimmon Ridge site continued to provide challenges with its potential for traffic congestion, as well as a fear that the town would be choosing quickest and easiest site over best.

“We’ve had the ‘wow’ factor in almost everything we have done,” Countermine said. “I want this to have the ‘wow’ factor.”

Vice Mayor Adam Dickson questioned the long-range plans for Persimmon Ridge and whether or not a dog park would fit appropriately into those plans. 

In addition to Wetlands Water Park, ball fields, Frisbee golf and walking trails, the expansion of an RV park has been discussed.

“I have asked on a couple of occasions what is the future of Persimmon Ridge,” Dickson said. “It always seems like it is in the back of my mind.”

Alderman Stephen Callahan recommended waiting on the park.

“If it was up to me, I think we should pull together as a board and get done what needs to be done on list and then come back to it,” Callahan said, citing the town’s current, and what he sees as a more important, priorities list.

Town Operations Manager Craig Ford also pointed out that the street department staff and their availability is a crucial factor as the town moves forward. 

The Persimmon Ridge site, were it chosen, would mean the project could begin almost immediately. 

In the end, the board seemed happy to go with Dickson’s suggestion.

“I guess I’m used to the old school approach,” Dickson said. “I like it when the staff makes a suggestion.”

A decision on the dog park was delayed until such a suggestion and further discussion.

“We bounced that around and we will see what direction we go,” Vest said.