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With Ladd Park shaping up as first-rate outdoor recreational facility, Kingston officials have found themselves in a strange predicament: possessed with an ample waterfront but with an inadequate supply of dry land.
To be more specific, they lacked the kind of dry land with parking spaces on it. And having the nicest park facility in the world is useless if it can’t accommodate those who would come to visit it.
“In the past, it was a problem,” said Kingston Mayor Troy Beets. “We held a bass tournament there, and we just didn’t have enough parking.”
That looks like it’s about to change. Kingston City Council approved a measure this month appropriating unused federal surface transportation funds to expand parking at the park.
According to City Manager Jim Pinkerton, the city receives those funds every year, but must eventually spend them on applicable projects. If the money remains unspent, it is eventually forefeited.
In this case, Kingston has about $316,000 in unused funds. It will combine those with $194,000 left over from the Ladd Greenway project to expand the existing Ladd Park parking lot.
The additional spaces at the trailhead of the Greenway would be available to greenway users, boaters and anyone else making use of the facilities at Ladd.
Pinkerton said the city must request a revision from the Tennessee Department of Transportation regarding use of the greenway funds.
TDOT officials have already indicated this is an acceptable use of those funds, so approval shouldn’t be a problem, he said.
“This should almost double the parking over there, and tie the rest of the park in with the walking trail,” Beets said. “Now we truly will have one of the nicest parking and recreational areas around.”