By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor of Aldermen has unanimously adopted a resolution that approves a design consultant for development of the Discovery Nature Park.
Board members took the action during their Dec. 12, 2016 meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by then-Alderman Hank Hawkins.
Millington Finance Director John Trusty said “a number of entities” responded to a Request for Qualifications distributed by the city. He noted that, after reviewing all of those “in great depth,” the Consultant Selection Review Committee recommended Haizlip Studio in Memphis.
In April 2016, the board approved Millington’s application for a Local Parks and Recreation Fund Grant from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The grant request was for a $1 million project with a 50-percent local match, and the city was selected as the recipient of a $500,000 grant.
At their Jan. 9 meeting, board members unanimously adopted a resolution to accept the grant. Trusty has acknowledged that the city will not sign a contract with Haizlip until TDEC has sent a “final contract” for the grant.
Millington will provide matching funds of the appraised value of land donated to the city by the Millington Industrial Development Board. The remaining match will come from not more than $500,000 in Capital Projects funds, minus the appraised value of the land and “in-kind” or donated services, materials and/or equipment use.
The Discovery Nature Park will be located on 11.63 acres that are commonly known as the Millington Farmers Market. Because the land has been appraised at $385,000, that will decrease the city’s required cash match to $115,000.
Kate Armitage, director of the Millington Arts, Parks and Recreation Department, has said Haizlip is “already very familiar” with the site, because it prepared the preliminary Site Plan for the park.
“From there, we have to move forward with construction documents,” she acknowledged. “But the design will be very close to what you have seen presented.”
Armitage noted that the city conducted a “multitude” of public meetings and received “lots of input” from the community while it was working on the project, which is designed to create an “inclusive, multi-generational” community park.
She expects that “maximizing” the use of the acreage will attract all ages of bikers, walkers and runners, as well as provide learning opportunities for young people and encourage senior citizens to be more active.
Armitage has said the park will include “interactive natural play areas,” outdoor exercise equipment, games like horseshoes and bocce ball and an “education/entertainment amphitheater” that will host neighborhood concerts, gardening seminars, healthy-cooking classes and demonstrations, as well as natural arts and crafts programs.
She expects the project will expand on the mission of the Farmers Market to “promote a green, healthy lifestyle” and also contribute to the Old Town Millington Revitalization Plan.
Alderman Mike Caruthers has noted that the Millington Kiwanis Club is applying for different grants in an effort to donate all the playground equipment for the park.
By Bill Short