Conover City Park awaits repairs

Staff Writer

Parts of Conover City Park that were damaged in December, are still awaiting repairs.
When Timothy Mark Clark, 65, lost control of his car he caused a lot of damage to the park.

Conover City Manager Donald Duncan said that the city is waiting on repair estimates, but park patrons can plan on the facility being out of service until April 2020.

“We’re talking to the contractor, but have no idea when it will be completed,” he said. “The structure has to be tested by a structural engineer.”

The city has decided to use the contractors that originally built the park’s shelter to ensure that the damaged areas are made safe again.

After hitting the park’s shelter before Christmas, Clark, of Hickory, was charged with reckless driving.

Around 4 p.m. on December 23, his vehicle veered from 5th Avenue SE on the left side.

Clark’s vehicle then struck a lamppost before hitting the park’s picnic shelter.

When it hit the shelter, a support post was also damaged. From there, Clark’s car also hit a bench and another lamppost before hitting a tree.

Duncan said that in a statement, Clark said he panicked and had one foot on the car’s accelerator and one on the break.

“It was a freak accident,” Duncan said.

“He was on the street and lost control of his vehicle”.

Two couples were at the park when the accident happened, and one called 911. Police, firemen, and EMS were all called out.

Duncan said Clark was treated and released at the scene and no one else was hurt.

Talking about changes to the shelter, Duncan said it will be repaired to the original design. He said that no one can predict accidents and make an area secure from everything.

Even though safety is of utmost importance to the city, Conover still wants everyone to feel welcome and to utilize the park.

“Barriers limit access to a park,” Duncan said. “You can’t build structures for all circumstances- they’d be too expensive to build. “

He also said that extra walls or posts make people feel like they aren’t welcome.

“We’re not building a fortress, we’re building a park,” Duncan said.

Duncan is thankful that more patrons weren’t at the park during the accident.

“If the weather was different, there would have been more people there,” he said. “The outcome would have been different.”