'Life and joy'

Fall for Emerson to generate funds for Monroe Park

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Offering family-friendly entertainment, Fall for Emerson will bolster funds and awareness for the creation of Monroe Park.

The festival will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds and parking lot of Emerson City Hall, 700 Highway 293. Along with arts and crafts booths, Fall for Emerson will feature food trucks, a kids' inflatable zone, silent auction and concert stage.

"Fall for Emerson is presented by Allatoona Resource Center, local churches, local schools and local businesses," said Frank Bennett, lead pastor of Lake Point Church in Emerson. "The idea of Fall for Emerson came about because of a need to have a community park in Emerson. We wanted to raise funds and have some fun at the same time. We thought a community festival would be a great idea.

"… [Fall For Emerson] has become an event that connects our community together, much like the future Monroe Park. We hope to see everyone this Saturday. …  It’s free to attend, but plan to support the development of Monroe Park by purchasing from the food trucks, vendors and silent auction."

To be situated on Fourth Street, the future Monroe Park will include a playground, outdoor venue, community gardens, paved walking trail, picnic table shelter and restroom facilities. Depending on funding, construction is tentatively scheduled to start in fall 2019.

"We are super excited about Monroe Park, and so is our community," Bennett said. "Lake Point Church is gifting the land [to the city of Emerson] for Monroe Park that will be adjacent to our future church location off of Fourth Street. The park will include around 2 [to] 3 acres, plus a paved walking trail around the entire 20-acre church campus.

"… Monroe Park is named after the family who owns the land. This land has been in their family for over 100 years. They want this land to be used to bring life and joy to the community. We have architectural renderings of Monroe Park. We have a design team and an honorary committee made up of Emerson Mayor Al Pallone, Commissioner Steve Taylor, Cartersville-Bartow Chamber CEO Cindy Williams and Bartow County Community Redevelopment Coordinator Patrick Nelson. For the kids playground and community garden, we are looking at a cost of around $150,000. The infrastructure costs and additional park amenities will be upwards of about $500,000."

Providing support for the Monroe Park project, the Allatoona Resource Center is serving as its fiscal agent.

"They operate under the Allatoona Resource Center, under our 501(c)(3) status, because we are a nonprofit," said Nichole Varnell, site coordinator of ARC, an extension of Bartow County Social Services. "So they operate under us in order for them to apply for grants and accept tax-deductible donations for the park. Here at the ARC, our focus and our mission is to serve the southern part of Bartow County. Our service area includes Acworth and Emerson. So Emerson is a part of the population, which we serve.

"So it was a no-brainer for us to partner, just walk alongside of Monroe Park because it aligns well with our mission. Our mission is to provide the residents of southern Bartow with resources and education and information and services. So with Emerson growing … one thing that they were missing is a public park. There is no public park. [A park] strengthens communities. It gives them a sense of community."

For more information, visit www.fallforemerson.com.