ST. GEORGE — A city park already under construction in Enterprise that promises to act as a major community hub and tourist attraction has received the support of the Washington County Commission in the form of $200,000.
County commissioners approved a resolution to appropriate the city money from the county’s tourism and recreation tax funds at a County Commission meeting Tuesday in St. George.
“Enterprise is in the process of building a very beautiful park that it needs for ‘Cornfest’ and other activities out there, so the city has approached us about using certain funds out of our recreational funds to help support that process,” Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom said in the meeting.
Enterprise officials did not ask for a specific amount when they came to the commission with the request, but the resolution originally offered $100,000.
“I’d like to amend that resolution … I’ve had a chance to work with the Enterprise mayor and council members and talked about how this can collaboratively impact an entire community,” County Commissioner Dean Cox said.
Cox called for the amount to be doubled to $200,000 on the contingency that the city comes forward after project completion to explain how the funds were allocated.
“We’re appreciative of the commission willing to be a partner on this project,” Enterprise Mayor Lee Bracken said in an interview with St. George News. “It’s huge and it has a lot of collaboration among many partners.”
The commission is interested in helping Enterprise and other northern parts of the county grow as recreation and tourism destinations, Bracken said.
“We actually believe that money will ultimately come back to the county in the form of tourism because this is not looked at as just a children’s city park. We look at this as an areawide regional facility that will have a lot of appeal to a lot of people.”
The park, which is centrally located in Enterprise, will feature a splash pad, soccer fields, tennis courts, a covered sports court, a playground and a community center.
The park is a major need for the community, according to the city, which currently lacks areas for large gatherings and events.
“Enterprise city has not had a lot of public gathering facilities,” Bracken said. “We have largely depended on a local church and the school for facilities both for recreation and general public meeting.”
City officials also foresee the park acting as a gathering place for the city’s annual “Cornfest.”
While the county money will allow construction to continue into the summer, the ambitious project is still short of the cash required to bring it to completion with an estimated total price of $3 million.
“We continue to look at options,” Bracken said. “We continue to proceed with other applications for other grants and other corporate donors.”
Even with the shortfall, the community has come together to contribute to the project in the form of donated labor, equipment and money.
Private donors and the school district have also contributed substantially.
“The way we’re doing this is we’re trying to be the construction managers ourselves as a city utilizing the donated cash and the donated labor,” Bracken said.
An engineer estimated that grading for the park would cost $200,000, but it was accomplished at a cost of $10,000 through donations of equipment, fuel and labor.
“That’s kind of reflective of what we’re seeing when we started this park,” Bracken said. “It’s a huge project, but it’s just really gratifying to see the willingness of the local people to step up. It’s done something to our community that I haven’t seen in the dozen years that I’ve been mayor.”
Ed. note June 13, 2017: CLARIFICATION made: Updated to clarify that the commission’s resolution states funds will be appropriated from the county’s tourism and recreation tax funds.
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