It’s coming back. After a long wait engendered by the demolition and replacement of the Westwood Bridge, Riverfront Park will finally have a new volleyball court.
The city is currently in the process of extending the parking area along the river and the volleyball court will be placed just past the graveled area and near the bridge, according to Public Works director Bill Brock.
The volleyball court, much requested by the public, is just part of a general improvement project in the area. Riverfront Park will also feature a new boat ramp and dock, thanks to an $84,500 grant obtained under the auspices of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. The grant was actually applied for and received in 2010 but, like the volleyball court, was delayed because of the Westwood Bridge project.
The grant was given by the Wallop-Breaux Fund and requires a 20 percent match from the city, which will amount to $16,900. This money can be provided with in-kind work from the city. The grant came with a four-year completion window so there is no danger of losing the funds as long as the work is done by 2014.
Former Civic Center director Carlene Brown was advised of the grant by TWRA county officer Roy Cannon and Region III officer Matt Clarey. The Wallop-Beaux Fund, also known as Sport Fish Restoration Fund, was established in 1984 and grew out of the Sport Fish Recreation Program of 1950. It is supported by fees and taxes on the sale of recreational fishing tackle and non-commercial motorboat fuel.
Revenues are allotted to the states and are designed to protect natural resources and enhance recreational fishing and boating activities. Over $2 billion has been collected and allocated since the fund’s inception. All of this is handled under the auspices of the TWRA.
Vice mayor Everett Brock asked about the progress of the project during the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting at the last meeting the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen. City administrator David Rutherford addressed the issue.
“I know this has been going on for a long time,” said Rutherford. “I’ve got all the instruments ready to send in to the state. I’ve been in contact with the TWRA representative. He knows we’re still working on it. I’m still waiting on one particular vender to give me a price on the fishing piers and the courtesy dock. They were have some problems finding a company to do the pile driving for these fishing piers, actually put them in the ground in the river.”
“So it’s going to be a fixed dock instead of floating,” said Brock.
“Yes,” said Rutherford. “We hooked them up with Simpson construction who’s doing the bridge work here and gave them the contact people there. They said they would probably do this.” Rutherford said, noting as soon as these estimates come in construction should begin on the improvements.
“This is what TWRA needs from us as far as cost estimates being turned in so a contract can be performed and we can get this started,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford said the project can be done for around $100,000, which the $84,500 grant and 20 percent matching donation of $16,900 from the city will cover.
Rutherford said the new volleyball court won’t be covered by the grant.
“This grant won’t cover anything like that,” Rutherford said. “It’s got to be all fishing and river based. You’ve got to spend it on that type of thing.”
Rutherford said if everything comes together the project could be finished by the end of the summer, and perhaps earlier than that for the new volleyball court since there is already quite a bit of progress on that part of the project.