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Idea of mountain bike trail gains speed
Pepper Branch
Pepper Branch Park is the primary focus of a $75,000 Tourism Enhancement Grant to be applied for by the city to improve boat access and increase public access to the park with kayaking and other outdoor recreation being the main tourism draw to the area.

McMinnville’s Tourism Development Board is pedaling toward a mountain bike trail.

The board discussed developing such a trail to complement the area’s kayaking draw during its most recent meeting.

The hope is that more tourists will come for kayaking and mountain biking if greater public access is provided. In January 2020, funding is available through the Department of Conservation for trail building. The Tourism Board believes this would be a prosperous idea.

After outdoor recreation, musical attractions are another idea the board has considered to increase tourism. The Tourism Development Board is hoping to partner with the city, another business, or an organization to revive the once-popular Dottie West Music Fest.

The idea is still in the works. However, board member Christy Ross has already spoken with RCS Productions, a band booking agency, and has received positive feedback.

In hopes to further promote the outdoor recreation aspect of the community, the Tourism Board wants the city to apply for a $75,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development to expand and improve boat ramps at Pepper Branch Park and Rocket Park.

The entire project will cost more than $75,000. Ryan Maloney, who worked on the master planning for both parks, as well as writing the adventure tourism plan, has laid out guidelines so the city has the ability to pick and choose how the grant money is used, if awarded.

If the city agrees to incorporate the plan to only improve one park, Pepper Branch Park will be the primary focus since it is aimed more toward the tourism aspect, while Rocket Park could use funding from the TWRA due to its primary use being for the citizens of McMinnville.

Another topic addressed was the fact the Park Theater will be turning 80 this year providing the perfect opportunity to collaborate with organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Main Street McMinnville in holding a large performance to celebrate the occasion.