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River access
New recreational area opens
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Sallys Alley is now open. The area can be used by people wanting to fish or launch a canoe into the Barren Fork River.
“It’s cleaned and ready to go,” said McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock, whose department was instructed to bush hog the property and add a gravel area for parking. “Sallys Alley now has access into the river and is open to the public.”
McMinnville officials began discussing the addition of another access into the river last year. Available at the time was Riverfront Park, Pepper Branch Park and Rocket Park.
Alderman Rick Barnes spurred the city’s interest in developing the area into a park last August after he purchased property across the river from it, locally known as Miss Pokey’s, and witnessed people trying to get through the overgrowth to the water.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the river and all everyone asks me for is more access into the river,” Barnes said.
Barnes requested city employees use a bush hog to clear the area to test the waters when it comes to building a new park.
“There may not be enough interest in it to do it,” said Barnes. “If we see a lot of people down there, we will know which direction to go. We could clean up a couple of acres and see what happens.”
Given the park’s secluded location and the possibility of individuals using the park for something other than its intended use, Alderman Billy Wood made the suggestion in August that public access be limited to daylight hours.
The area has already had its first act of vandalism. According to Brock, a bulldozer left at the park overnight was discovered the next morning with a shattered window.
“The first night we left the gate unlocked, someone shattered the window on a piece of our equipment left there overnight” said Brock. “It was last Wednesday night. We discovered it Thursday and filed a police report. We locked the area back up until we could move it.”
Used to break the window was a large rock, estimated to have cause several hundred dollars in damage.
Officials are still moving forward with plans to establish a walking trail along the river connecting Sallys Alley to Rocket Park.