Plans to invest another half-million dollars in park improvements at Rock Hill’s Riverwalk along the Catawba River are now on hold.
City council Monday moved to table the plan that would have redirected $531,000 in unused hospitality tax revenues towards extending the Piedmont Medical Center trail and installing a new scoreboard and bleachers at the city’s new BMX Track.
The trail extension would have bridged the 2,000-foot gap between the Piedmont Trail and a neighboring trail at River Park, which sits about three miles south of the Riverwalk Development.
“We always have more needs than we have money,” said Councilman Kevin Sutton, who led the efforts to table the plan. “I’ve personally had people contact me concerning Hargett Park and they feel there’s some areas of maintenance that we need to do there.”
The hospitality funds were collected under a special tax collected in city limits on prepared foods and hotels, meaning that by law, the money must be spent on projects that support tourism.
“I understand there’s a lot of excitement around the Riverwalk…but you can’t forget about some of our other areas,” Sutton said.
Sutton specifically said he didn’t agree with the Piedmont Medical Center Trail extension.
That part of the plan calls for building a 12-foot wide, 136-foot long canopy beneath the Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle, designed to withstand a 50-pound object dropped from the top of the trestle or train car. The estimated cost for the canopy and trail extension is $430,000.
Council Monday also commended City Manager David Vehaun with an “exceeds expectations” designation on his most recent employee review. Vehaun was named City Manager in 2010 and was awarded a $7,156 raise that brings his salary to $175,448. He was also awarded a one-time bonus of $5,000 and an executive physical exam. Vehaun oversees the city’s day-to-day operations.