Crossroads Park needs help with repairs

Crossroads Park needs help with repairs

April 12th, 2010 by Ben Benton in News

POWELLS CROSSROADS, Tenn. -- Crossroads Park needs the same volunteer effort that created it to help bring it back to life, officials said.

Park Director George Johnson said local volunteers turned a farm field into a community recreation area after organizers met at Powells Crossroads Elementary in 1975.

"Twenty people donated $50 each to purchase 19 acres of land, and we paid $1,000 down in earnest money," Mr. Johnson said.

The park board was formed at the same time as Powells Crossroads incorporated in 1976, Mr. Johnson said. The town's population now is about 1,400.

HOW TO HELP

Send donations to:

* Friends of Crossroads Park

Town of Powells Crossroads

140 Alvin York Highway

Powells Crossroads, TN 37397

NEEDED IMPROVEMENTS

* Rest rooms

* Ball field fencing and lighting

* Ball field surfaces redressed

* Backstops

* Steel or concrete poles to replace wooden poles

* Erosion control and debris removal along creek

* Parking lot paving

To support the park, Mr. Johnson said, "we met with Newell Phillips and got involved in the Ketner's Mill arts and crafts fair."

Supporters began operating a food booth at Ketner's Mill in 1977, and it remains the major source of funding for Crossroads Park, Mr. Johnson said.

The park started with four ball fields. A concession stand, rest rooms, paved walkways, benches and parking were added over the years, he said. Lighting for new soccer fields was added in 2005, and a playground was added last year with a grant and help from a corporate donor, he said.

Except for a few state grants, volunteers have paid for improvements with bake sales, memorial plaque sales and "everything we could think of short of robbing the convenience store," Powells Crossroads Mayor Ralph Chapin said with a smile.

But the economy has crimped fundraising at Ketner's Mill, and the park needs repairs, Mr. Chapin said.

Staff Photo by Ben Benton/Chattanooga Times Free Press Powells Crossroads, Tenn., Mayor Ralph Chapin says the town's Crossroads Park, built in the mid-1970s, need improvements to aging electrical equipment, lighting and structures. Here, Mr. Chapin points out erosion and debris problems in a stream that runs through the park.

Staff Photo by Ben Benton/Chattanooga Times Free Press Powells...

"Now, we've got light poles that are being eaten up by the woodpeckers," he said. "We are going to have to replace the poles and lighting system on the ball fields."

A "Friends of Crossroads Park" has been formed, but it needs financial help to make necessary improvements.

Madonna Fujardo Kemp, a member of the friends group, said she's worried that the oldest parts of the property could be closed for safety reasons. She's hoping people will donate to ensure the park is safe for the thousands of children who use it each year.

"The park offers so many opportunities for children in this area," she said. "I think it's wonderful."