Revamping of Vinton's Venissat Memorial Park begins

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

The near $100,000 revamping of Venissat Memorial Park in Vinton began this week, and in about six months residents will have

a “brand new” facility, one councilman said.

In April, the Town Council unanimously approved an estimated $96,500 face-lift for the park, but granted the project $105,000

as a buffer for any unforeseen issues that may arise during construction.

Discussion on the re-development of Venissat Park spawned in February 2012 when the skate park located there was temporarily

shut down by the council as a result of repeated disturbances.

Councilman Kevin Merchant said he is “excited to see something get started” at that park.

“This has been a long process to get to where we are right now,” he said. “Our residents will basically have a brand new park

by the time this construction is complete.”

Mayor Kenny Stinson said crews started construction this week on the park, pouring concrete.

The first phase of construction,

expected to take six to seven weeks, includes a new basketball court,

parking lot improvements,

instillation of new playground equipment and general improvements

like painting things to improve the overall aesthetics of

the facility.

The softball field at the park will also be improved during the first phase of construction.

Merchant said input from residents played a role in the design of the park and the amenities that will be available.

“Well over a year ago, there was a

committee formed and we held six to eight public meetings with about

20-30 people attending

each,” he said. “From those meetings and social media, we took

ideas and input from people on what they wanted to see at the

park.”

Merchant said the second phase of construction will include the addition of a family area with barbecue pits and canopy areas,

a walking path and lighting improvements, the instillation of horseshoe pits and a security system.

Exercise equipment will also be installed along the walking path.

“Everyone is excited about the park,” he said. “I’ve had nothing but positive (feedback) from people since the time we started

this entire thing. People are excited to have something new for the kids and everyone in town to do.”

The project is being funded through the town’s budget.