Community Chest and Parks Update
Thursday, December 21, 2017
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
An update on the Sewanee Community Chest fund drive and Parks Commission proposal topped the agenda at the Dec. 13 dinner meeting of the Sewanee Civic Association (SCA).
SCA President Lynn Stubblefield said the Community Chest solicitation mailing was scheduled to go out that week. The SCA hopes to increase donations to meet the $16,000 increase in funding requests. This year’s $128,535 Community Chest budget calls for financial assistance to 30 groups and organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in Sewanee and the surrounding vicinity.
To support the Community Chest, mail donations to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375 or donate online at <sewaneecivic.wordpress.com/community-chest/>.
SCA Parks Committee Chair Stephen Burnett said he and Dixon Myers met twice with University Provost Nancy Berner since the October SCA meeting. At that meeting Myers proposed formation of a Parks Commission to oversee upkeep and maintenance of community parks.
The SCA spearheaded the recent renovation of Elliot Park. When the SCA learned the Sewanee Ballpark was in deplorable condition due to lack of maintenance, the organization sought out the advice of Myers. Myers headed up renovation of the ballpark in 2003.
Provost Berner will seek legal advice on the challenges inherent in managing Sewanee community parks, Burnett said.
“We’re trying to arrive at a decision on which entity will be responsible for which parks,” he explained. Burnett speculated the University would assume responsibility for the Woodlands Park and Lake Cheston Park, and the Parks Commission would oversee the ballpark, Community Center park, Dog Park, and Elliot Park. The SCA already serves in an oversight capacity for the Dog Park and Elliot Park.
Other questions needing answers pertain to the administrative and financial structure of a Parks Commission if one forms, Burnett noted. Who would serve as commissioners and for what term? Would the Parks Commission be an independent entity or would oversight fall to another organization, perhaps the SCA, the Sewanee Community Council, or the University? And, finally, where would funding come from to manage the parks assigned to the commission’s purview?
One possibility, Burnett suggested, would be to assess lease holders a small user’s fee to pay for park upkeep.
The Lease Office has a small budget earmarked for parks, Burnett said, “maybe $3,000.” Citing critical needs, he pointed to the ballpark press box which had rotting floors and was infested with snakes. He estimated needed repairs at $5,000.
Dixon and Burnett will meet again with Provost Berner in early January.
Following a free buffet, the Sewanee Chorale entertained SCA members and guests. Under the direction of Ruth Cobb, the Chorale’s rich harmonies instilled new life in familiar holiday carols. The audience thanked the performers with a standing ovation.