SCA Approves Elliott Park Agreement

$21,000 Remains to be Raised before Sept. 30

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the special called meeting on Aug. 26, the Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) overwhelmingly voted to approve the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Civic Association and the University of the South for the Elliott Park playground. Recognizing the need for renovation of the Elliott Park playground, the Civic Association Parks Committee identified the project as a community priority in early 2013. The park, which had a long history of community support, had fallen into disrepair.

Located on University Avenue in the center of campus near All Saints’ Chapel and the University Book and Supply Store, the new Elliott park playground will include a balance beam, bridge, climbing structures, swing sets, spinning elements and a musical component. The park will be accessible for all children and will incorporate local and natural materials.

“This is an important partnership between the SCA and the University of the South to benefit the community,” said Kiki Beavers, SCA president. “The five-year MOU clearly identifies the separate responsibilities of the Civic Association and the University.”

The Civic Association will secure funding for the purchase of the playground equipment and installation; inspect the boundary and notify physical plant services if action is needed; be the point of contact for complaints; secure and maintain safety certificates with GameTime, the playground equipment manufacturer; and under GameTime’s supervision, oversee the community build portion of the construction and installation.

The University will be responsible for site preparation and drainage; accessibility and improving parking facilities; and the cost of moving and or replacing the playground equipment if the site is needed for other purposes.

In response to a question about the location of the playground, Provost John Swallow said, “Yes, there is a planning document that shows a new library in that location. But since that building has a $50 million price tag, I don’t see it happening any time soon.”

The issue of insurance, Beavers said, was still under discussion, but was important to both the Civic Association and the University.

The Civic Association must raise $21,241 by Sept. 30 for the playground. To date, $43,759 of the playground’s cost of $65,000 has been raised. Major funders include the South Cumberland Community Fund, the Sewanee Community Council Funding Project, the Kaj Krogstad Memorial Fund, the Joel and Trudy Cunningham Charitable Fund, and donations through a designated fund with the Sewanee Community Chest.

“If everyone living in Sewanee gave $10, we’d be finished,” Beavers said, encouraging community members to step forward and make a contribution to a project that will benefit Sewanee residents.

The Civic Association has a number of grant proposals pending. Beavers said other possible sources of support for the final funds are the Community Chest Opportunity Fund and financing through GameTime. Civic Association att orneys are still reviewing the MOU. The vote of approval granted Beavers power to approve the final document at her discretion. Site preparation is slated to begin in September. Organizers hope that the playground will be delivered in mid-October. There will be time during this process for community participation in the playground’s installation.

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