By LISA WHALEY
Jonesborough’s dog park has been put on temporary hold.
In a lively discussion at the Dec. 16 Jonesborough Board of Mayor & Aldermen meeting, board members debated the best site for the park — the Rosenbaum property as originally proposed and a part of Plan A and B — or at a new location in Persimmon Ridge Park, now called Plan C.
In the end, more time to reach the right decision seemed to be the consensus of the board.
“Giving ourselves a little bit of time to determine what our potential can be, I don’t think that would hurt us,” said Vice Mayor Adam Dickson.
Issues included cost, accessibility— and whether Randy Boyd and the Boyd Foundation would approve the possible change in location.
The Town of Jonesborough was awarded a $25,000 grant for the construction of a dog park by the Boyd Foundation in 2018.
After potential costs for the dog park rose to up to $300,000, Mayor Chuck Vest suggested looking for another, less expensive location.
“One of the best thing about (Persimmon Ridge) is people use it as a dog park right now,” Vest said. “We have all the acreage there for a dog park, not just where we are going to build this facility. You’ve got trails throughout the park that people walk on now.”
Persimmon Ridge would also come in at a more comfortable $75,000, allowing for the Town to use saved funds for Persimmon Ridge athletic site improvements.
According to Town Operations Manager Craig Ford, the problem was high construction costs for the first two plans which both needed new access points, plus restroom facilities..
“You already have available restroom facilities at Persimmon Ridge,” Ford said. “The construction costs to do a high quality park is minimal at that Persimmon Ridge site versus the other two sites.”
Countermine was not convinced, citing a reduction in size at just three acres and concerns about ADA accessibility.
“I do not want us to do C,” Countermine said. “I have checked the site. In fact, I went out with Craig and at first I thought, this might work. But then I went out again and again and then I went out to where the three acres were – and again that is much smaller – and I worry about ADA, people with disabilities being able to use it because it is steep. Dogs run and you like to keep an eye on them and it is hilly there.”
Countermine also believes that the park, done right, can be a huge draw for Jonesborough.
For Alderwoman Virginia Countermine, however, the main issue remains the Boyd Foundation reaction to the changed plan.
“I think the first thing we need to do is back up and stop until we see if the Boyd Foundation is going to agree to move this park,” Causey said. “We can’t do anything on this right now. If we do it now, and they come back and they say, you can’t have the money, we’re stuck with nothing.
“I think we need to postpone this until we get the answers from Boyd first.”
A motion from Causey to table the discussion until next month pending a response from the Boyd Foundation was approved unanimously by the board.