McMinnville Public Works Department is adding concrete at Pepper Branch Park to improve river access.
“Concrete is being poured from the street to what we’ve already done,” said McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department director Justin Scott. “It will improve access to the boat launch.”
Funding for the concrete extension project is being taken from a $75,000 Tourism Enhancement Grant from the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. Public Works employees are being utilized as a cost-saving measure.
Work is being completed in stages to allow continued access by park visitors, which means completion will take a little longer.
“It will take a while. It will be a month or so,” said Public Works director Frank Southard. “We will try to do some of the parking areas on the right side and connect everything together to the boat ramp down by the river.”
Concrete is being used, as opposed to asphalt, due to the area being prone to flooding.
“Rushing water will wash away asphalt,” said Southard. “We are hoping that concrete, being heavy enough and thick enough, will stay put. Concrete is more durable than asphalt. Given the number of visitors to the area, concrete is a better choice.”
The large parking lot next to the dam is not included in this phase of the project, says Southard. “There’s quite a bit of grant money left in the grant, but not that much. We can’t do the whole parking area at the park. There’s enough to connect the street to the boat ramp.”
McMinnville Parks and Recreation Department will seek a second grant from the state to cover the large parking lot with concrete.