Marion adding water bottle station to Courthouse Square

Marion adding water bottle station to Courthouse Square

Cyclists taking the Big River Crossing into town can rehydrate, repair at rest stop

news@theeveningtimes.com

Bicyclists coming from Memphis over Big River Crossing and on into Marion will soon be able to take a breather and stop to fill up their water bottles and make repairs.

Marion Advertising and Promotions Commission has agreed to pay for a water bottle filling and repair station next to courthouse square.

Mayor Frank Fogleman said the water filling station will be a further enticement for bikers to include Marion on their trip.

“I like the idea,” Fogleman said. “I think it’s good to encourage the bicycle crowd.”

Since opening in the fall of 2016, Big River Crossing has been a big draw for cyclists to Crittenden County.

Over 250,000 pedestrians and cyclists have used the path among the old Harahan Bridge to take in the unique view of Memphis and West Memphis from high above the Mississippi River. Planners are working to develop a regional park on the land under the bridge to further expand the outdoor opportunities.

Marion has added its own bike loop to the map using a route along Mound City Road to the county courthouse and down Wheeler Road to Gammon Road and back to the courthouse using McNeely and Cypress Road in an effort to attract cyclists.

Chamber of Commerce President Tracy Brick said the station would include a water fountain and tool box.

“You would stick your water bottle in and refill it with water,” Brick said.

“And then there is a stand that has an air pump and tools like small wrenches in case you had to change a tire.”

Councilman Jim Spence said he likes the idea and asked where the proposed water fountain would be.

“Where would you put it?” Spence asked.

Fogleman suggested somewhere on the courthouse

square. The site has a

fire hydrant and nearby water lines.

“There is water where we have the Christmas tree every year,” Fogleman said. “If the county is good enough to let us do this, my thought is somewhere in the vicinity off to the side.”

Councilman David Bigger, who chairs A& P, agreed that the courthouse would be an ideal location.

“People ride there and kind of take a break there,” Bigger said.

Brick said it will cost about $4,000 to $5,000 to install, but noted that they have leftover money from 2017 set aside for bikepath promotion.

“I have $3,500 left,” Brick said. “I will research it and come back to you in December with something to show you.”

Bigger said he believes it is a good use of A& P money and would be in favor of doing more projects to promote wellness and the city’s parks.

“I’m very interested in exploring more opportunities to do that,” Bigger said. “I know in my travels a lot of communities that are vibrant, exercise takes priority in their parks and things like bike paths. So I am interested in us taking this opportunity for these types of projects.”

A& P agreed to fund the project up to $5,000.

The water refilling station will also have a sign identifying

it as having been paid

for through A& P.

“Any time A& P gets promoted

is good,” Bigger

said.

By Mark Randall

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