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Board approves design consultant for Discovery Nature Park project

By Bill Short
Flag City LogoThe 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.

  • Hugh Rickman

    Bad choice of location. Such a GREAT part of town, NOT! The city should get rid of the blight between the highway and Nelson Street, and build Millington it’s own “Central Park” in the middle of town while getting rid of some of the eyesores that are there now, instead of by the railroad tracks in one of the best parts of the city. We need a “good” town planner. Navy Road is a ghost town and the “planners” continually clog up Highway 51 with more and more “strip malls” and fast food restaurants and causing MORE problems getting on and off the Highway for junk food. COUNT the ingress/egress drives on Highway 51. There are over 100 entrances/exits between Babe Howard Blvd and West Union Road, and GROWING. And money spent on Veterans Pkwy to the Millington “Business Center”??? What a waste! How is THAT working out for you, about the same as the one on Highway 51 with Ingram Micro and the Dump??? Taking federal “matching” money seems to be a fast way for Millington “Officials” to waste more money at one time, with the help of the Federal Government. Our taxpayer money, HARD at work. AND – why do es the city have to hire a “consultant” every time something is done around here?? How about hiring people who can ALREADY plan and not have to hire outside “consultants”? Is it reall that hard to draw up a park? If you’re that ignorant on the subject, go to Memphis or somewhere else that doesn’t require a weeks stay, and get some Ideas. If nothing else, copy some other city’s park and go from there. A “consultant”? Just what’s needed, another person to throw money to.

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