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Pier planned as park's first tenant

The waterfront land at the eastern end of Dampier Street used to be the home of the Inverness sewage plant, but the city has a more alluring vision for the property. It plans to transform the area into a public park. The first phase of the project, the construction of a fishing pier on Big Lake Henderson, already has begun and is expected to be finished within four to six weeks, said Rodney MacRae of Dock Masters, the company that is constructing the pier.

The park would be just one block away from the proposed site for a new jail.

The $30,000 project was financed through the county's hotel tax, said Walter Cannon, a City Council member who also sits on the county Tourist Development Council.

"When we moved the sewer plant, that

freed up that parcel of property," Cannon said. The land was leased to an organization that wanted to establish an Olympic canoe-training site, he said, but those plans fell through.

The area was then designated as parkland.

"It's a beautiful piece of property and we have no recreational facilities in the downtown area," Cannon said. "As the downtown area grows, it could be nice to have some place to go and relax a bit in the sunshine."

The city tore down the sewage plant, with the exception of one building that will be converted into restrooms, Cannon said.

An architect is designing plans for the park and Cannon said that he expected there would be picnic tables and playground equipment.

City Manager Bruce Banning said he did not know when the architect's plans would be considered by the City Council.

The new park is near the site the County Commission selected last week to build a 400-bed jail. At least one council member doesn't feel the two sites can co-exist.

"We're in the process of developing a park and a fishing pier to attract people downtown and I think something like this can only detract from it," Cannon said of the jail plans.

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