published Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Kimball approves athletics upgrades to park

By Ryan Lewis/Correspondent

KIMBALL, Tenn. — In an effort to continue upgrading Kimball Park into a quality athletics complex, city administrators have approved fencing for four baseball fields and the construction of a road for a new entrance.

The fencing project was awarded to Quality Fence in Wildwood, Ga., for $155,108, and Kimball Mayor David Jackson said half of that cost will be paid with about $258,000 in grant money that still remains for the park.

Alderman Jerry Don Case said city leaders must use the grant money by October.

“We know we’re going to put fences around the ballfields, so if we wait around and don’t use the grant money, we’ll lose it,” he said. “Then, we’re going to have to pay the full amount. Common sense says let’s use [these funds] and get it done.”

The original estimate for the fencing three years ago was $92,000, Jackson said.

“That tells you how much the price of metal has gone up recently,” he said.

The board also approved the construction of a new entrance to the park.

Officials said the road will be built from Lofty Drive to the current parking lot in the middle of the park.

The bid for the work was awarded to Lofty Construction in Kimball for $53,274.

“We bought the property adjacent to our park to eventually build a road on because the government wanted us to do about $150,000 worth of work on the [current road entrance] that crosses a railroad track,” Jackson said.

The current park entrance is not considered a public entrance by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, officials said, and that creates liability concerns for the railroad and the town.

“It’s pretty obvious that it’s cheaper to spend $53,000 than it is to spend $150,000 [to fix the problem],” Case said. “The purpose of us buying the property was to put the road in there.”

“If we put this new road in, the current entrance would basically be closed,” Alderman Johnny Sisk said. “The new road will be the only entrance. This has to be done.”

Officials said the cost of the road construction is not covered by available grant funds, so Kimball will have to pay the entire cost.

With an estimated $143,000 left in grant funding, officials said they still plan to add lighting for the ballfields and some paving before the project is complete.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com

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