Mayor: Pumpkin Patch Park not going anywhere - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mayor: Pumpkin Patch Park not going anywhere

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Tensions were high as members of Walden's Town Council met Tuesday evening.

“Is there a limit as to how much would be spent on the McCoy property that would make it a bad decision?” one person asked the council.

The three person council is trying to decide how to make the town's money stretch further without dipping into taxpayer wallets.

“The town of Walden is not big enough and doesn't have a big enough tax base to support two major facilities,” Mayor David Epperson said.

The council agreed Tuesday to pay more than $19,000 for an architect to finish plans to move the town center to the historic McCoy House.

Members told a crowd no decision has been made yet, but they would like to see how much it would cost if they did move forward.

“We've had money budgeted for the last eight or nine years and what's happened is we've had is we've had portions of that spent just on minor upkeep,” Epperson added.

Many  have been worried about the future of Pumpkin Patch Park which sits directly behind the current town hall.

Epperson says while there are no plans to do away with the park, insurance agents have told town leaders the equipment is becoming a danger and needs to be replaced.

“So it's essential that we look at this and say, okay if we move over there as a town center, it makes complete sense to move the playground over there as well because there are other activities that can take place,” he said.

An architect is needed in this process because the McCoy House was originally built as a house and has a lot of small rooms, but not one big enough to hold a town hall meeting like the one that was held Tuesday night.

The architect is drawing up plans that will remodel the inside of the house but keep the outside the same.

Leaders hope to have the finished plans by the next town council meeting in October.

Mayor Epperson's term is up in November. The actual decision of whether or not to go forward with the plans will be up to the new council.


A special outdoor park on Signal Mountain may be at risk as city leaders discuss plans to relocate city hall offices. 

The city council is expected to vote on architect plans and advertising bids for construction in this project.  

Many want to know 'why' city leaders want to move these offices essentially from one building to another.  

Others question if using this historic site for office space is the best way to use this kind of space.  

We also haven't heard from the mayor on this issue. Hopefully we will get all of those questions answered later on.  

PREVIOUS STORY: Parents and children who visit the Pumpkin Patch Park all say it is a special a gem in the community. The future of the outdoor park is unknown. 

According to workers inside of Walden's City Hall, city leaders may sell the town hall building and part of the property if they end up moving city hall offices to the historic McCoy Mansion off of Anderson Pike.

"There is a lot of families that would be impacted if they lost a great park like this," said mother Rachel Pope. "This is really wonderful for the community whether you live on the mountain or not It's good for Chattanooga."

Tuesday night's board meeting is scheduled to vote on architect plans and advertising bids for construction in the McCoy project. Neighbor Charles Adams says he is one of several who don't want this historic home turned into a bunch of city hall office space.

"Well I'm not sure that's the best plan. We've had many plans since the purchase of the property and none of them have ever been executed," said Adams. "I'd like to see the City Hall stay where it is, I think that would give you more flexibility to do things with the property."

Pumpkin Patch Park was built by volunteers back in 1994, It's just behind the town hall building. If the property is sold, city workers tell Channel 3 the park could later be lost, moved or rebuild at the McCoy Mansion. The decision will ultimately be left up to the board.

"It would be disappointing to me I think as a Grandma, it's a very special place. I like the kid friendliness every place they could go whether it's through the tires and climbing on structures, it's just kid friendly and its little kid friendly," said one visiting Grandmother.

The City of Walden will have an open town hall meeting to discuss all of these issues Tuesday night at 6:30.

Channel 3 tried to reach Walden's Mayor for a comment and did not get a call back.
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