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City considers recreation additions
Ramsey Park.jpg
Ramsey Park, pictured above, is located off Beersheba Street not far from Pepper Branch Park and Rocket Park in an area where the city is park heavy.

A Parks and Recreation master plan is being pursued by city officials. Among its goals will be to determine the feasibility of creating parks, or green spaces, north of the bypass. 

According to Parks and Recreation interim director Justin Scott, a completed master plan could be used to improve existing parks, create new green spaces, expose any safety issues, improve ADA accessibility, or connect the city’s current parks, greenways, blueways (rivers), walking trails, and bike trails. 

“We not only looked at existing parks, we also looked at other areas throughout the city that we could develop into parks,” said Scott. 

Creating the master plan for the city of McMinnville is Ragan-Smith Associates, which has already conducted an initial inspection of the city’s recreational amenities to generate cost. Funds for the project come primarily from a 2020 Healthy Built Environment Grant from the Tennessee Department of Health. Awarded was $48,000, while the project cost is $50,000.

The project and its cost were presented to the city Parks and Recreation Committee. 

“There are places in the city that are not park heavy,” said Alderman Rachel Kirby. “We’d like access to some green spaces in different spots located throughout the city.”

“North of the bypass” was mentioned by Scott as an area without city-owned parks. 

That area has a heavy concentration of apartments and a large number of residents.

Ragan-Smith Associates set its fee at $50,000.

“There’s a $2,000 difference that the city, or the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, would be responsible for out of pocket,” said Scott.

Alderman Everett Brock asked when the master plan was slated for completion, to which recreation program coordinator Michael Benusches replied, “They are shooting at December 2022 for completion.”

Benusches also explained that a completed master plan could improve the city’s efforts in acquiring competitive grants to fund the plan’s recommended projects.

Parks and Recreation Committee members provided initial approval for the creation of a master plan for Parks and Recreation. Final approval must come from the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.