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Committee OKs initial Veteran’s Park funding

Caitlin Rickard • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:17 PM

The Wilson County Public Works Committee met Tuesday where they discussed the first initial funding for a new Veteran’s Park.

The park, which was proposed last year and will also have a museum to honor Wilson County’s veterans, will be on a proposed site next to the courthouse.

Mayor Randall Hutto said architects who came up with a design were assembled and everything was approved through the city planning commission.

The county has also moved forward with fundraising to raise money for the park, and Hutto said around $126,000 in actual cash donations were received.

“Through fundraising we don’t have enough money raised, so we’re going to have to look at putting the museum on hold,” Hutto said.

Hutto said the architects, as well as the county, has also had materials donated, and others, such as Cracker Barrell and Home Depot, promise to donate more materials when construction begins.

Hutto said next construction manager is needed.

“We’ve gotten three bids, and one came in at $26,000, so that’d be the first money we’d pay out in this process, was for a construction manager,” Hutto said. “We don’t think it’ll cost that much to get one on board, but we have to have one to get the process started.”

Hutto said next once the county had all the funds needed, it could hopefully make the park a reality.

“Hopefully we can hit the ground by Veteran’s Day; that’s the goal,” Hutto said.

Hutto also said the $26,000 for a construction manager could be taken out of the $126,000 raised through fundraising, but more money would be needed to actually work on the project.

The committee then discussed a proposed amount of $600,000 from the sale of the property that could be put aside to get things under way.

Commissioner Jeff Joines said he would vote that $600,000 capture the payment for the park project and go toward building and then the committee could ask the Budget Committee for an additional $500,000 more to complete the project in the future.

“The $600,000 for the project would be spent however it needs to be spent now,” Joines said. “The additional $500,000 in the future would be to finish the project to get the museum and office space built.”

Joines said the initial bid for the project was around $1.2 million.

“Whatever it takes to get this done, I want to do that,” Joines said.

Hutto said he thought the $600,000 should go into an account to let the construction manager get started and hire him out of the $126,000 donation money so he can begin gathering details to the park’s construction.

“We’ll still continue to get donations, and we can use as much of the $600,000 as we need. We may not even use it all,” Hutto said.

After discussion, the committee then voted to capture the $600,000 amount to use to build the park and whatever is leftover can then be used toward a museum or other plans.

The $600,000 amount toward building the park would also go toward an office space, bathrooms and a pop-up tent conference area.

Commissioner Gary Keith said he was happy with setting the $600,000 aside so it wouldn’t get spent elsewhere, but he also wanted to look at more thorough plans in the future in order to proceed with the next steps.

The committee will next look at more detailed plans that the construction manager comes up with and brings back to the committee.

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