published Monday, July 4th, 2011

2nd pavilion planned for Market Park in Athens

By Paul Leach

IF YOU GO


• Market Park, located at 106 S. Jackson St. just off State Route 30, Green Street, in Athens, will begin hosting a farmers market Tuesday.

• Market Park will have its grand opening at 5:30 p.m. July 14 as part of the 25th anniversary Pick Tennessee media tour.

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ATHENS, Tenn. — With the completion of Market Park’s first pavilion in downtown Athens, planners now have to decide where to place a second pavilion and restroom facility.

Members of the Recreation Advisory Board and Athens Parks Foundation debated recently whether to combine the public restroom with the second pavilion or let them stand alone. They ultimately decided to keep the structures separate.

“Elevation is the key that drives the plans,” said Kristin Grove, a partner with Johnson Architecture, which is handling the park’s design.

The restroom facility floor will need to be about 5 feet above ground because of building codes for enclosed structures on a flood plain, according to Austin Fesmire, director of the city’s parks and recreation department.

Fesmire said the rule protects the restroom’s electrical box in case of flooding.

Grove said the restroom could be incorporated as an endcap to the park’s second pavilion, which would be built sometime after the restroom. The combined structure would save on construction and utility costs, he said.

Naomi Clarke and other board members questioned the aesthetics of attaching the restroom to the second pavilion, saying it defeated the purpose of having an open-air pavilion by blocking one end of it.

Board members also questioned the significance of any cost savings by combining the restroom facility with the second pavilion. Grove did not provide any estimates of dollars saved.

Phase Two of Market Park, which includes the restroom facility and concrete walkways, likely will begin in October, Fesmire said.

Phase Two funding amounts to $300,000, according to Fesmire, with Athens and McMinn County providing $120,000 and $30,000, respectively. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will put up $150,000.

In other business, the board discussed whether to align the second pavilion on Jackson Street, like the existing pavilion. Grove said parking space could be saved by having the structure form a corner with the existing pavilion instead of extending them in a line toward the nearby city parking lot.

Resident Bob Sevigny suggested that the park incorporate a decorative waterwheel into its design. He noted that the town’s foundation was rooted in the livelihood provided by its creeks.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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