BY LAUREN HENRY
The rather lengthy Kinser Park Commission meeting Thursday evening extended into a work session to discuss needed infrastructure improvements at the park.
Kinser Park director Rex Oster said that the electricity and plumbing needs to be replaced.
He cited a rough estimate of $71,400 to replace leaking piping in the park if the commission decides to contract with a company that has a history of working with state parks and the Town of Greeneville.
Oster gave the commission another cost option of approximately $52,962 through a smaller construction company with Oster providing assistance for the replacement of water pipes.
The only other option Oster said was $15,000 for minor repairs that would not fix the leaks, which he estimates is costing in excess of $1,500 in water bills each month.
Oster said that many of the water lines were not laid properly and the seals are no longer true. He said that he has seen evidence of dirt washed away where the pipes have been leaking underground for a long time.
In one section of the park, Oster said that electrical wiring is too thin and stretched too far. He said his main fear is the strain on the electrical system might eventually ignite a fire.
Oster called this phase I of the infrastructure improvements.
He said his proposals do not even address the sewer problems. According to Oster, the sewer has roots growing through parts and some is shattered.
Commission member Max Cox said he had talked to City Administrator Todd Smith about the existence of grants that might help fund the expenses.
Cox reported that grants may be a possibility and the commission agreed to look into available grants with Smith's help.
The commission will discuss the infrastructure improvements more at a later meeting.
During the regular agenda time, the commission voted to allow Oster to look into installing a front gate to the park.
Oster said there has been an ongoing issue of people entering the park after dark.
"This is not a new problem," Chairman Bob Schubel said.
The commission thought it was best for Oster to look into how much a fence would cost and bring it before the commission at a later meeting for a vote.
The commission also discussed the possibility of raising rates for the park.
Oster reported that the park has extremely low rates in comparison with other parks.
He said that raising rates even slightly would help raise revenue to help with needed maintenance and infrastructure improvements.
Cox cautioned the commission against overpricing the park.
"Don't price yourself out of business," he said.
The commission returned to an item discussed previously for short discussion before voting to allow Oster demolish an old bathhouse in the park.
"I think we should leave it to Rex's discretion," Cox said.
Oster said he thought the bathhouse was beyond repair. The motion passed.
For the Marlins facility, Schubel announced that there is a verbal agreement from the Tennessee Valley Authority for the contract agreement written up by attorneys Ron Woods and Ken Hood.
Schubel said the TVA's only question was whether or not the public would be able to use the facility. The answer is yes. However, the scheduling of public use will have to be scheduled through Kinser Park.
FORMER MANAGER PRESENT
Gary Ricker, the former manager of the golf course, was present for the update on his removal of the premises.
The commission voted last meeting to close the golf course until further notice and requested that Ricker leave the premise. He is currently in the process of clearing out the equipment.
Ricker was given a deadline of Dec. 8.
However, Ricker requested an extension. Schubel said he did not want to hear the request and refused Ricker the right to comment.
"This is indicative of our entire relationship with this man," he said. "If we extend the deadline, it never gets done."
Commission member Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers, however, made a motion that the commission extend the deadline until the end of the year.
The motion passed with Alderman Keith Paxton opposing and Cox abstaining.
Oster reported that the park has been winterized.
Ricker, the former manager of the golf course said he would winterize the golf course building while he is in the process of moving out of it.
BOWERS NEW CHAIRMAN
The commission voted Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers and the new chairman of the commission.
Outgoing chairman Schubel was voted in as vice-chairman.
Dr. Hayden Scott was elected treasurer.
The position of secretary remains to be filled. Janet Malone, who is not a commission member, is helping the commission by taking minutes. She agreed to continue to do so until a suitable replacement may be found.
The commission decided to hold a December meeting even though the commission does not usually meet during the month of December.
The next meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the courthouse annex.