MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

November 22, 2012

Eufaula looks to improve cove area

City to apply for Recreation and Tourism Grant

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Eufaula officials are hoping a grant will lead to improvements at a cove used for camping, fishing and other events.

Residents spend much time strolling, picnicking and fishing along Lakeshore Drive, a road that winds around the cove in town, officials say. With a covered pavilion, camping areas, swimming area and more, it’s also a popular visitor destination.

So, the city is applying for a Recreation and Tourism Grant to fund improvements to the area — particularly bathrooms with showers and a walking trail.

“Summertime is our busiest time,” said Mayor Selina Jayne-Dornan. “We have events at the nearby amphitheater, lots of camping during Memorial and Fourth of July weekends, and bass tournaments there.”

There are the “rather primitive” bathrooms in the area, but Jayne-Dornan said campers will appreciate running water, septic system and flushing toilets — possibly making the cove a more popular visitor destination.

The city would like to attract more bass tournaments. The covered pavilion is a popular place for tournament organizers to stage weigh-ins, Jayne-Dornan said, but it really needs running water and good bathrooms nearby.

“Our city does depend on sales tax revenue, so our visitors that come in are very important,” she said. “And people just love that area. A lot of us grew up right here, and it’s just a pretty area. Our local citizens here love to walk in that area.”

The city also wants to build a walking trail that will begin near the pavilion and end near the ball fields, she said.

It likely will be at least next year before getting results on the grant application and beginning any projects, Jayne-Dornan said.

“We just got council approval to go ahead and move forward on it and send in an application,” she said. “It’s an 80 percent/20 percent grant, which means we’ll have to provide 20 percent of the project costs ourselves. So, right now we’re just looking at estimates and don’t know if the walking trail will go all the way yet.”

Eufaula resident Patty Daniel is fully supportive of the proposed project. Daniel is part of two organizations that work on beautification of the area — Team Up to Clean Up and Keep Eufaula Beautiful.

“We work with the city on keeping the lake area clean and improvements,” Daniel said. “Also, planting trees and making the area more visitor friendly.”

Daniel said leaving the campgrounds to use the bathroom or clean up at the local convenience store doesn’t make the area conducive to having a good time.

“We really need the bathrooms,” she said.

Daniel also said she enjoys exercise, particularly walking.

“And I’d like to have places to do that,” she said. “The walking trail will promote a healthy lifestyle, and the bathrooms will keep the area cleaner, healthier for everybody.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.