IEDC discusses walking trail, playground equipment upgrade

The Italy Economic Development Corporation met Monday evening and discussed upgrading the playground equipment and constructing a walking trail at Upchurch Field.

Charles Hyles, IEDC member, said there is no place for people to walk except on the street. He added that the playground equipment at Upchurch Field is not in good condition and suggested the IEDC pursue upgrading through grants or bonds.

He said the George Scott Park is nice but caters to smaller children. He said there are nice parks in Frost, Milford and Waxahachie.

The group discussed what width they could build the walking track. The proposed track, outlining the park, is just under half-a-mile, according to Hyles.

He estimated a six-foot wide track, at $3 per square foot, would cost about $40,000; and a seven-foot wide track at $45,000. He said the playground equipment could cost between $25,000 and $45,000. In addition, Hyles said a portion of the fencing would need to be heightened in one area.

He will provide better pricing options at the February meeting.

Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said she will talk with the city’s grant writer about investigating possible grants. She pointed out that most grants are available through matching funds.

Elmerine Bell, vice president, presided over the meeting. She said the idea of a walking track is an appealing option but said she would also like to see the IEDC get a project that will enhance and promote tourism as well as preserve some of the city’s historical highlights.

Bell said the community looks pretty good right now but urged members to consider what can be done to “spruce up Italy.”

During the financial report, Murdock updated members with account balances. The checking account balance is $339.99 and money market balance is $111,057.25.

Murdock said the sales tax income increased 11.5% in 2012. The sales tax totals for 2012 was $295,492.74. The January sales tax payment — $21,186.30 — increased 24.47% over the same time in 2012.

The board also approved bills and minutes from the November meeting. The group will consider a date for a pavilion ribbon cutting at the February meeting.