During the weeks ahead, Fulton city officials are looking to put the final touches on two projects that Mayor Barry Childers says will be beneficial for all ages. Childers told The Times both the new walking track pavilion and the new press boxes at Fulton City Park are approaching completion.
Located at the north end of the Tenn-Tom Waterway walking track, the new pavilion will house seating, grills and tables. Childers said the goal is to create an area for families to gather for birthday parties and events or for individuals to relax after a brisk walk.
“The structure is ready. All that remains is getting the tables and other fixtures in place,” he said. “The new pavilion will be a place where families and friends can come and have a good time,”
Regulations set by the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USCE) prevented the city from building a beach attraction similar to the one in Bay Springs, but they were able to move forward with pavilion plans by placing it on city property.
“With the donations we received from Home Depot and then building it ourselves, we were able to do the project at minimal cost,” he said. “Every penny we can save helps the city.”
Fulton City Park’s press box and concession facilities also benefited from generous individuals and businesses. Childers said much of the work and materials were donated, saving the city even more dollars.
“The work that’s been done will offer a larger press box, an office and a concession area with a new kitchen. Functionality was key for the public and the park employees,” he said.
Renovations at the park also include new and improved restrooms.
Fulton City Park isn’t the only area the city hopes to get in better shape. Condemning, cleaning and clearing dilapidated properties remains on the city’s to-do list.
In early 2019, officials agreed to change the process so that public hearings will feature hard deadlines for having the property in question cleaned. If it isn’t cleaned up within a set amount of time, the board will have already ruled on the matter and can legally go forward with the condemnation and cleanup process.
If the clean-up of the property falls in the city’s lap, the cost of the building’s demolition will be passed on to the owners via the city’s tax roll.
“The board of Aldermen have voted on several properties to be condemned and demolished,” Childers said. “They are beyond being fixed and create a hazard so we have to move forward.”
Fulton officials also tackled a dilapidated culvert on South Adams in 2019. Attempts by city workers to replace the pipe failed after rainfall caused mud and debris to fill the pipe and essentially open a sinkhole.
Both McBride Drive and Rogers Drive were flooded.
Inevitably, officials voted to re-group and pay Phillips Construction $49,650 to make the repair. State law allows municipal leaders to bypass the $5,000 maximum bidding process during emergencies. Fulton leaders feared delaying the repair of the culvert and sinkhole could cause further damage to South Adams.
“We made a mistake in how we approached the culvert project,” Childers said. “Like in everyday life, mistakes can happen. When mistakes are made, we must learn from them and communicate to ensure that they do not happen again.”
Culvert issues on Selena Drive are complete and other culvert issues on South Adams are slated to be next according to the city’s plans.
In 2020, Childers said the city is looking into acquiring a grant to replace and upgrade the sewer system east of South Adams Street.
“We are continuously working on improvements to the infrastructure and beautification of the City of Fulton,” he said. “Our goal is to make it the best it can possibly be.”
Childers said the city also plans to continue hosting its annual Bluegrass, Blues & BBQ Festival in April. The city took over the festival’s organization from the former Fulton Chamber of Commerce organization which has overseen the festival’s planning for several years. Festival dates are set for April 24 and 25.