Parks & Playgrounds
The Public Works Department maintains Mary Elizabeth Park, Mary Bethune Park, and jointly maintains Gilley's Park with the Franklin County Parks and Recreation Department. The Town has also agreed to maintain the Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial Park which opened in 2005. Town Council also agreed in 2006 to accept a gift of approximately 5.5 acres on Franklin Street for development of a botanical park to be named Celeste Park, and will need to begin the design and planning for its use. The Town does not have an organized recreation program, relying instead on services provided by the Franklin County Department of Parks and Recreation. Our parks are provided for passive use, utilizing playgrounds, picnic shelters, and tennis courts for non-organized play. The Town is also obligated under the terms of the 2000 annexation agreement to develop a playground in or near the Franklin Heights subdivision in the future, with costs for such included in the 5 Year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Full-time labor costs for Public Works employees allocated time to maintain the grounds and equipment of these parks is budgeted at 2.25% of total labor and fringe benefits. Seasonal part-time labor is anticipated to be used in this account.
Green space design and adaptive use is a key element of not only recreation, but cultural and social events. Mary Elizabeth Park, located in the center of the historic central business district, is greatly underutilized in terms of its availability to host special events and to maximize its recreational opportunities. MaryBethunePark is also underutilized in terms of its opportunity to educate the public on its rich history. The new Veterans’ Park can be a very beneficial area as a gateway into town and its proximity to the canoe take-out on the PiggRiver.