By Stan Welch – The opening of Chapman Park, which was originally planned for August, has been delayed by the Town Council’s decision to expand the park somewhat, as well as by their continued changes to the design for the veterans memorial at the front entrance to the park.
Council reviewed a proposal to improve the waste area currently existing between the new Chapman Park and the parking lot of the town hall at their last meeting. A proposal by the company constructing the park to tear out existing asphalt and fill and grade the area, as well as add some stone work and pillars, and construct a sixteen foot walkway to connect the areas came to almost $17,500.
Councilman Robert Alexander said that the asphalt could be removed and hauled away with town equipment and volunteered to do the job himself. Since then, the Council has reconsidered and asked Zorn Construction, which has built the park, to remove the asphalt, as well as to construct two additional pillars and grade the extended area.
The latest proposed changes will provide an extra entrance to the park, as well as additional parking, other than that available along Main Street. The revisions will cost approximately $10,000. Mayor Paxton explained that the funds would come from the town’s hospitality tax revenues, which are earmarked for such recreation related expenses.
The construction of the park was also delayed by summer rains and some bureaucratic tangles that delayed the issuing of needed permits.
Disagreement on the final design of the veterans memorial has also led to delays. In June, the Council learned that the plan to include the name of all the Town’s veterans on a memorial at the Chapman Park site will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
“It turns out that the Veterans Administration has a long list of conditions that have to be met to qualify to be on the memorial. For one thing, they had to be born here and to be living here when they enlisted or were drafted. Also, the VA doesn’t even have a complete listing of the veterans who served. Unless they sought benefits or medical treatment, the VA has no record of them,” said Town Clerk Paula Payton, who researched the matter.
During the ensuing discussion, which included members of the American Legion and of the Chapman family, major changes were suggested for the proposed design presented by Walt Young, who owns the monument business on Main Street, and who is donating his services to the Town.
Payton said that a revised design will be presented to Council at their September meeting. “Hopefully, if they approve that, we can move forward,” said Payton.