Marengo County Commission hears from Chickasaw Park caretaker

Chickasaw Park Caretaker Charles Osburn addresses the Marengo County Commission on Wednesday, March 9. (Photo by Jan McDonald)

Chickasaw Park caretaker Charles Osburn addresses the Marengo County Commission on Tuesday, March 8. (Photo by Jan McDonald)

Chickasaw Park caretaker Charles Osburn spoke to the Marengo County Commission Tuesday urging members to find a way to reopen the park.

“A lot of people use that park,” Osburn said. “It has been a gathering for family reunions, parties and picnics, and many people walk the site, in addition to use by both RV and tent campers,” he continued.

The park was closed during state budget cuts. While the Commission members verbally supported reopening Chickasaw, Freddie Armstead said the one-acre site belongs to the state Board of Education. “I would hope the school board would give the park to the county for $1,” he said. All efforts to contact the person in charge have failed, he added.

If the county was ceded the land, it would not include the caretaker’s home, his salary or the hunting acreage. The county would be responsible for upkeep of the park.

Probate Judge Laurie Hall and Sharon Barkley, revenue commissioner, both expressed problems and concerns with the Internet connections to their departments.

The upload side of the Internet is weak, said Hall, causing significant problems. Barkley added that her office has had to turn away customers because of the slow system. Fortunately, they said, up to 25 percent of the county residents are processing fees out of the office.

Commission chairman Dan England directed Michael Thompson to check with the current carrier for possible solutions to the problems.

In other action, the Commission:

  • Approved the Grand Jury report
  • Renewed the three-year contract for county engineer Ken Atkins.
  • Approved the use of the EDA building for the Summer Feeding Program.
  • Approved the resolution to initiate paving of a 10.8-mile stretch of County Road 44.
  • Approved the resolution for the County Hazard Mitigation Grant Resolution, which now must be approved by the communities in the county. The approval opens the way for a $25,000 grant from FEMA.
  • By a vote of 3-1, approved the request from Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital to contribute $27,500 for an outside independent evaluation.

EDA Director Brenda Tuck said the ADECA Grant has been closed out, allowing the county to apply for another grant. The completed grant helped provide 30 jobs in the business incubator and is being used as an example throughout the state and nation.