By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Grayson Sports Park manager Grant Harper has been working to seed the ball field at the park with grass. He’s also discussed options for bringing in topsoil to help that grass grow. But this doesn’t mean the idea of artificial turf surfaces are off the table just yet.
Harper spoke with the Grayson Tourism Commission last Thursday and gave an update on progress at the park. In addition to noting that they have finished up with most contractors – only the contract for fencing is still open – Harper told the commission that the park board is still hearing suggestions on artificial turf, at least on some surfaces.
He told tourism that he and members of the park board have spoken with representatives of the Motz Group, an Ohio based company that specializes in both artificial and natural grass turf, about some of those options. While they haven’t come to any decisions yet, Harper said going with artificial turf over natural grass has several benefits. Specifically, he said, going with artificial turf could, “free up time and resources for other projects.”
Harper also updated tourism on plans for the playground. He said he is currently, “narrowing down playground options,” and will send out his suggestions on those options to the park board and tourism commission after he has finished making those decisions. He said they will likely go with Landscape Structures, the company associated with the Kiwanis “Legacy of Play” contest, for some of the equipment. While Grayson did not win the funding offered in that contest, Harper said the company did give the park a certificate that entitles them to a free piece of playground equipment with purchase.
Tourism also heard an update on the hotel tax during the financial report. Treasurer Don Combs told the commission that the hotels have started making payments, and the commission now has funds in that account which could be used for local tourism related grants. The commission had put a freeze on grants from the fund earlier this year as a lack of hotel tax payments cut into available money.
This funding freeze did not have a significant impact, as COVID-19 concerns led to the cancellation of many events that would have normally sought grant funding from the commission. Nevertheless, the tourism commission did approve a motion to start looking at grant requests once again. One of the groups expected to apply for some grant funding would be the Grayson Chamber of Commerce, who plan to move forward with the seasonal Christmas light trail.
Combs also gave the commission an update on restaurant tax funds. While those tax funds were down a little from last year, Combs said, it was not down as much as it could have been given the impact of the pandemic on restaurants; especially dine-in restaurants. While those tax funds are down slightly, Combs said he did not see it having any impact on plans for the sports park. He told the commission they still have money in the bond for the sports park and well as in the maintenance reserve account. He said the park should have enough money in the bond to purchase and complete installation work on playground equipment.
“We ought to be able to do most of what we planned to do with bond money,” Combs told the commission.
Restaurant tax money, by state statute, must be used for tourism related projects like the sports park.
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