By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Officials eye park upgrades
Beretta Scott, 6, prepares to launch his kayak from Pepper Branch Park on Saturday. The city is considering a concrete boat ramp for the park at an estimated cost of $55,000.

Want to live in an even nicer city?
McMinnville officials are considering $195,000 that will be spent to upgrade two of our parks, establish a park for dogs, and provide shade at Gilley Pool.
City Parks and Recreation Committee members Ben Newman, Steve Harvey and Jimmy Bonner reviewed the budget for McMinnville’s Parks and Recreation Department on Thursday.
Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord included $25,000 in the budget for building ADA-compliant restrooms at Riverfront Park and $25,000 to build restrooms at Pepper Branch Park.
“Our restrooms at Riverfront Park are not ADA-compliant,” said McCord. “There is absolutely no way from the way they were built they could be. They are only open during the summer months.”
The new restrooms at Riverfront Park would be at the entrance to the Barren Fork Greenway and the existing restrooms would remain open.
Newman suggested additional upgrades at Pepper Branch Park.
“I’ve used Pepper Branch a lot and I know a lot of people do,” said Newman. “You can go down there on just about any day of the week on a nice day and there are lots of people there. I went last Monday evening. It was 5:30 and there were 60 people down there doing different things. There were people doing Frisbee golf, fishing at the dam, meandering about, eating at the picnic table, swimming and kayakers were putting in. That was a Monday afternoon.”
Newman suggested the inclusion of $72,000 for an actual concrete boat ramp down to the water, more picnic tables, and fencing. The ramp is estimated at $55,000.
“That whole area could look a lot better,” he said. “We’re getting people in from all over the state and people from out of state to use that area. If that park looks great, they are going to go back to their friends and tell them this place is really awesome. That would draw in more people.”
Estimated cost for establishing a dog park is $13,000.
“If the Friends of the Greenway gets their grant, which we are hoping they do, we won’t have that on there,” said Newman. “Just in case they don’t get it, I think it would be a good idea for us to do that. When we look at the cost of doing things in Parks and Recreation, this is a small cost that I think goes a long way. There a lot of folks I think will end up using a dog park.”
Consideration is being given to placing the dog park at Hobbs Park and connecting it to River Trail East, a walking trail along the Barren Fork River connecting Ramsey Park, Sally’s Alley and Rocket Park. The park would be fenced with separate areas for large dogs and small dogs, as well as access to a water fountain.
McCord says shade is needed at Gilley Pool.
“I’ve been talking with a company about a price to put a shade structure over the eating area of the pool,” said McCord.
Within the budget is $24,000 for shade netting.
The estimated cost of replacing the gazebo at Riverfront Park is being set at $36,000.
“I got the cost of a metal gazebo to go back up at Riverfront Park,” said McCord. “The $36,000 is just for the gazebo. We probably could go up a little bit more on that.”
The gazebo would be custom made to fit the concrete structure under the existing gazebo and the cost does not include removal of the old structure, replacing the rotten floor, or building a new stair-case. 
Members unanimously approved the proposed budget of $2.1 million. It will be sent to Finance Committee members for their consideration.


The city is also
• a dog park for $13,000

• restrooms at Pepper Branch Park

• a concrete boat ramp
at Pepper Branch Park

• more shade at Gilley Pool