After learning the city was not selected to receive a nearly $1.5 million Blue Cross Blue Shield grant, which would have covered costs for a major overhaul of Pendergrass Park in Dayton, city officials approved a motion this week to begin the process of reapplying for the grant again this year.
Similar to last year, the application process must be completed and submitted in the fall, and the winner will be notified in January 2020.
Paul Soyster initially presented the idea to the Dayton City Council last February as city officials granted permission to move forward with planning and fundraising efforts towards the renovation to the city park.
Soyster said he began brainstorming about the possibility of a revamped Pendergrass Park while visiting the park with his family. He noticed how the Dayton facility was simply not up to par compared to other local parks.
“We enjoy visiting the parks in Chattanooga, Athens, Cleveland and Cookeville, but I got to thinking how great it would be to have a great park of our own here in Dayton,” Soyster said.
Soon after the plan was put into action, a committee was formed composed of Soyster, Manny Carril, Jill Noga, Allison Berndt and Jace Cochran to dive into the renovation options.
“One of our main goals with this project is to make it special for Dayton. We have the Strawberry Festival, the Scopes Trial, bass fishing and want to tie all those type things into this new park,” Soyster said in the initial meeting.
Rc3 eventually got on board as a 501(c)(3) to help sponsor the project and help begin the fundraising efforts. Rc3 officials were all in when they heard of the project and said they are thrilled to be part of this special renovation for the community. Ponds and Plants had also joined in to help make the revitalization a reality with the initial application and project proposal.
The park upgrade — which would include ADA approved equipment — is set to include slides, swings, group swings, climbers, a zip line, a tri-runner, a shaded pavilion area and an open play area where residents can bring their favorite football or soccer ball for fun in the sun.
On Monday, city officials said Soyster has continued to work with local volunteers and remained in contact with PlayCore about potential designs and park amenities.
The city has yet to make a decision on any possible financial contribution to the project’s fundraising efforts.
In other business, the city voted the new tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1,2019 and ending June 30, 2020 at $0.5766 per $100 of assessed value, which is a drop from last fiscal year’s rate of $0.64.
Dayton Vice Mayor Steve Randolph wrapped up the meeting with a motion to increase city recorder Michelle Horton’s annual salary to $63,000 effective immediately. Randolph commended the effort she’s put into the position for the last three years and felt Horton deserved to be compensated as such. The board passed the motion unanimously.
Due to the upcoming Labor Day holiday, the September meeting of the Dayton School Board and City Council is scheduled for Sept. 9 with the school board beginning at 5:45 p.m. at the Dayton Municipal Building.