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Lowery Asking For Vote On Riverside Park Project

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Lowery Asking For Vote On Riverside Park Project

Sparta Mayor Jerry Lowery has secured a state pledge to help fund the purchase of 120 acres of riverfront property for a new public park.

Next, Lowery wants Aldermen to consider the $1.8 million purchase. Lowery said an opportunity to strike a deal like this inside Sparta city limits is unheard of.

“This will be a destination spot for generations to come for the city of Sparta,” Lowery said. “There will be nothing like it probably in the state of Tennessee if we can acquire this property and then start moving forward.”

Lowery said he presented the idea to the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund last week. He said after that meeting, the group voted to grant Sparta $650,000 to help buy the property, should the city decide to move forward with the project. He said with many other funding opportunities the state provides for green spaces, he anticipates that the city could take possession of the land for just $700,000.

“This is a legacy item,” Lowery said. “This is something that people can be able to do, and I’ve already gone to a couple of investors and said, ‘We need a new motel because they’re coming here.’”

He said the project could take five to seven years, but there is a great deal of state funding and grant money for projects like this one. Lowery said people are looking to buy the land and develop it, and he would much rather it be used as an outdoor space that serves the community at large.

“Right now, we’ve got $650,000 sitting there, if we decide to do this, that’s going to be handed to us,” Lowery said. “I think that’s pretty awesome for them to do that.”

He said he told the Conservation Trust Fund that in the 1970s, Chattanooga was named one of the dirtiest cities in America before revamping the city by using the river that flows through it. He said Sparta has a similar resource and should take advantage. Lowery mentioned walking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, outdoor living, and other activities as prime examples of how a space like this could be enjoyed.

“The people selling it are excited that the city might purchase this and keep it as an outdoor place for the community instead of condos and homes and things like that,” Lowery said. “So, that’s all I know about it right now. I’m excited about it. I’m really excited about it.”

Lowery said he would like Aldermen to take a look at the area and consider discussions during the upcoming May meetings.


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