BY SARAH GREGORY
Members of the Kinser Park Commission discussed the future and maintenance of the now-closed golf course during their brief, regular session Tuesday evening at the Greene County Courthouse Annex.
At the meeting's start, Board Chair Lloyd "Hoot" Bowers noted that Kinser Park Manager Rex Oster has been hospitalized at Holston Valley Medical Center since Monday morning.
Bowers told the board that Oster had suffered what doctors believed to be two heart attacks. The board offered prayers and well-wishes for Oster during his recovery.
Commission members agreed that plans to discuss the future of the now-defunct golf course at the park need to be made.
They also heard an update regarding a lease agreement with the Greeneville Marlins youth baseball organization, and approved a request to plant a living tree in the park as a memorial.
DROP GOLF COURSE?
Commissioners agreed that the future of the now-closed golf course needs to be discussed going forward.
Bowers commented that the possibility of an individual purchasing the property for use as a golf course was unlikely, as it would require considerable investment.
"I think having a golf course at Kinser Park is history," Bowers added.
JOHN DEERE TESTING?
A motion was made and approved to contact John Deere Power Products about the possibility of using the former golf course as testing grounds for lawn mowers that come off the plant's assembly lines.
If the company agrees to the request, it could be a mutually beneficial relationship, as it would provide a cost-effective way of maintaining the grounds so that they do not "grow over" and -- commission members hope -- provide sufficient acreage for John Deere to conduct product testing.
A motion was made to have Janet Malone, a volunteer who keeps minutes for the Kinser Park commission, contact John Deere on behalf of the commission.
Malone said she would make the inquiry for the board.
Malone, who is chair of the Greeneville-Greene County Municipal Airport Authority, made the suggestion that the option be explored because of the positive relationship John Deere shares with the airport.
"They save us a ton of money every year," Malone said, noting how grateful the Airport Authority is for the agreement with John Deere.
Commissioner Phil King made the motion that the option be explored. It passed unanimously.
Commissioners heard a brief update concerning the status of the lease agreement with the Greeneville Marlins youth baseball organization.
A verbal agreement was approved earlier by the Tennessee Valley Authority. A written agreement is to be turned over to the Marlins organization for signatures.
Before the issue can be finalized, however, it must have approval from the Greene County Commission and the Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
LIVING TREE MEMORIAL
The only new business before the commission was a request to plant a living tree in Kinser Park as a memorial to Michael Merle Kelley, who died in December 2011.
Kelley was retired from the United States Marine Corps.
His widow, Sandra Kelley, addressed the board to make the request. She said that she and her late husband relocated to Greene County to a home on Kinser Park Lane approximately 13 years ago.
She said it was her late husband's request to have a living tree planted in the park as a memorial.
The tree will be purchased by Sandra Kelley, but commissioners agreed that they -- along with Park Manager Rex Oster, after he returns to work following his current hospitalization -- will assist with the actual planting of the tree and the accompanying nameplate.
Commissioners discussed the presence of other living trees with memorial nameplates in the park and agreed that the tree honoring Kelley will likely be placed among them.