Borden Park to receive major upgrades

By MATTHEW LANE • JUL 5, 2016 AT 1:13 PM Original Story

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 11.29.14 PMKINGSPORT — One of Kingsport’s oldest parks, located in the heart of the Borden community, will be getting a major upgrade during the next three years. Kingsport has been awarded a $450,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Health for Project Diabetes. The grant provides $150,000 a year for three years and has no matching portion. The statewide grant was competitive, and ultimately, the funds are meant to help reduce diabetes and obesity and improve wellness initiatives within the community. Kingsport submitted a proposal for the grant and was screened by state officials, who then invited the Model City to submit a full application. According to information provided to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Kingsport was one of 20 projects awarded a grant from more than 100 applicants and the only one in upper East Tennessee. Kitty Frazier, parks and recreation manager for the city, said the grant will be used for infrastructure improvements at Borden Park. “We have three phases, with the first year we’ll be putting in a walking trail around the park, upgrading the area where the basketball court is, then probably replacing one of the water fountains with a new one and refill station,” Frazier said. “Then, the second and third year will be separate phases of playground equipment, either an expansion, extension or a new unit.” In addition to the infrastructure improvements, Frazier said as part of the commitment to the project, the city will do things in the Borden neighborhood to help increase the usage of the 18-acre park. These steps will not be funded by the grant and could include things like offering classes on diabetes prevention and health awareness and fitness programs at the park or creating a walking club. “Those aren’t defined yet, but we will definitely be doing some programming to help get the park utilized more and the neighborhood involved,” Frazier said, adding the city plans to partner with entities like Healthy Kingsport, the Boys and Girls Club and local health care agencies to help with the education and programming aspect of the project. Borden Park is approximately 18 acres and is one of the most wooded parks in the city. What helped Kingsport in its application for the grant was the fact that Borden Park already has a number of amenities, like the playground equipment, walking paths, tennis and basketball courts and an 18-hole disc golf course. “It’s not like we were starting from scratch,” Frazier said. “We’ll be able to use this money to enhance the park and make it better.” The BMA is expected to approve the grant on second reading next week. Frazier said construction may begin in late fall, but more likely in early spring. The first phase of work must be done by June 2017.