Grant to help with upgrades for Wylie Park

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By Travis Jenkins

An enhancement could be coming to Wylie Park.

Grants Writer Terry Hare asked Chester City Council for permission Monday to seek a grant that will allow for construction of a quarter-mile walking trail between the park entrance and Park Drive.

The grant will be for $21,000 with another $2,000 for a gazebo. The city's share will come to about $4,600.

Hare had earlier asked for and received permission from council to pursue grant money for the resurfacing of existing walking trails with ground tire mulch. This new project makes sense, Recreation Director Jack Sink said, because of the possibilities the gazebo will open up.

"I'm just imagining people wanting to have an outdoor wedding that could use it," Sink said. "It could be used for family reunions or small festivals, maybe we could even have some small concerts there."

The project has also gotten a boost from a local business owner. Dick Blair, of Deluxe Pools and Spas, who told Sink that if the project became a reality, he will donate a fountain and small pond to be placed in the area.

Hare said that accepting the fountain would put the city on the hook for some related costs, such as water and power, but he deemed Blair's offer as being very generous.

City Council voted to allow Hare to seek the grant.

In other action, the council voted unanimously to accept a bid of just over $14,000 to install water fountains in each of the city's nine parks. Three additional fountains will be placed at the tennis courts. City officials have discussed getting fountains for years.

The talk intensified last year when a citizen spoke to the council, asking how smaller communities like Leeds have fountains and bathrooms but Chester does not. Councilman George W. Caldwell urged the council to put aside fears that vandals will break them and to install the fountains.