By DALE GRAHAM
Pegram Park, located in the heart of Pegram, near Pegram Elementary School, local businesses, churches and of course, residents, has become the perfect place for a great many events over the years. Of course T-ball/baseball are king, but that’s far from the end of the park’s versatility. The park is also the primary location for the annual 4th of July Celebration, Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas in the Park, Movies in the Park, concerts, fundraisers and gatherings for residents of both Pegram and Kingston Springs, as well as the rest of Cheatham County.
The park came together over the years due to lots effort by lots of volunteers. Then, in 2000 a group of local concerned citizens with various professional backgrounds united to address the lack of adequate recreational programs and facilities for the Pegram Community and the surrounding areas. This union resulted in the creation of Friends of Pegram Park, Inc., a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Friends of Pegram Park originally served as an advisory board for the Town of Pegram to study the needs of the community for parks and recreation. The advisory board put together a conceptual plan based upon surveys and input from the community. The Mayor and the Aldermen acknowledged generalized support for the conceptual plan because the park and the community would benefit from such improvements by resolution of the town of Pegram #2000-13 on 4-27-2000.
The group’s mission has been to assist the Town of Pegram, community organizations, and citizen efforts by acquiring and providing financial resources for the development and upgrading of recreational programs, equipment, and facilities. They wanted to make Pegram Park a family friendly, safe and fun place for everyone who uses the park.
They succeeded in more ways than they ever dreamed.
Accomplishments and Improvements
• Over the years, the park layout has been pieced together. The new design now provides continuity and accessibility to all areas of the park as well as park beautification.
• The current walking trail is now accessible from the parking area and the trail surface was brought up to standards of the American with Disabilities Act and accessible to wheelchairs or strollers in June 2005. All playgrounds, the pavilion, the gazebo and tennis courts are now accessible to everyone.
• Additional parking is now available throughout the park.
• Handicapped accessible restrooms were renovated and made available to park visitors in May 2005.
• In the Fall of 2004, a new playground was added for older children behind the ball field.
• In the Spring of 2004, Friends of Pegram Park added a Gazebo near the railroad themed playground for all to enjoy. The new playground was dedicated to the town of Pegram on July 4, 2003 at a cost of approximately $23,000.
• In the Spring of 2003, Friends of Pegram Park and many volunteers installed a colorful railroad themed playground that is safe and handicap accessible for all children. The new playground was dedicated to the town of Pegram on July 4, 2003 at a cost of approximately $70,000. By coordinating a volunteer installation day, Friends of Pegram Park was able to save $14,000.
Recently, Friends of Pegram Park made the decision to close up shop. They’ve accomplished what they set out to do, and more, and feel it’s time to move on. “While it is bittersweet to see FOPP disband, I am so proud to have been affiliated with such a diverse group of folks who truly have this community first in their hearts! “, longtime FOPP Board Member and Vice Chair Leigh Ann Richards said. “The organization set definite goals and reached successful and beneficial conclusions,” she added.
When a non-profit disbands, they must pass along any monies still in their accounts. Three different organizations will benefit from the remaining funds from Friends of Pegram Park. The recipients are: Pegram Cub Scout Troop 945, $1500; The Ark Community Resource Center, $5500; and South Cheatham Little League, $23,000. “I feel confident that our choices of recipients will put these funds to a quick use in our community”, Richards said.
South Cheatham Little League has many plans for the baseball facility at the park in compliance with ADA regulations, and they have applied for grants to accomplish that. The 1st thing they would like to do is to concrete around Field 1 and Field 2, in order to make them wheelchair accessible, “the funds provided by Friends of Pegram Park will complete this first phase”, South Cheatham Little League President John Smiley said. If they can get the grants, they also intend to make the existing press box handicap accessible, as well as the bathrooms and dugouts, also add ADA compliant bathrooms and press box for Field 3, new fencing and gates on the fields, and lighting for Field 3 as well.
Volunteers are what make us special here in south Cheatham, and the volunteers of Friends of Pegram Park they’re labor of love has made for great strides at Pegram Park, and will now help other community volunteers achieve some of their hopes and plans. “The entire area is better because of volunteers”, Richards said. She added, “Thanks to all who supported and assisted to make Pegram Park what it is today!”
Friends of Pegram Park Co-Founders Denise Kidd and Francesca Krane were joined over the years by board members J. Scott Coile, Leigh Ann Richards, Marilee G. Chipoletti, Julie Jackson, Tony Rich, Lisa Deal, Woody Hall, Lisa Lawrence, Jenny Hannah, Logan Weiler III, Vickie Porter, Cindy Whitley.