Mike Mains, Parks and Rec director, ready for summer

By Julie Fann
star staff

Mike Mains, Elizabethton's Parks and Recreation director, spent Thursday making sure the hotdog machine at Franklin Pool is working, buying hotdog buns, and performing various other important tasks that can make or break summer fun in Elizabethton.
   "We are so busy right now. Our staff is busy mowing parks and trying to make sure they're maintained. The tough thing about this is that we'll have a couple of days of rain and all of a sudden the sun comes out, and we have to mow again," Mains said.
   Mains' staff have painted the surface of the pool, making it look new, and he has hired a staff of 14 people. Last year, the city added a concession stand where the public can buy hotdogs, pizza and drinks, and record-breaking numbers of residents spent the summer poolside.
   "We've started out great this year. Pavilions at local parks are being used much more than they have in recent years. My number one job is making sure people have a place they can go to," Mains said.
   The center point of recreational activities in Elizabethton is, of course, the Elizabethton Twins minor league baseball team. Their season begins June 21 and ends Aug. 24.
   Mains said the biggest highlight of the Twins season will happen June 24, when the Principal Group, a minor league baseball entertainment service, will visit.
   "They travel to all the minor league stadiums in the country. It's a big deal because huge cities like Rochester, New York have this come in," Mains said.
   The company offers huge slides for kids to play on; radar guns that can clock how hard a child can throw a ball, and an X-box derby challenge.
   "I just don't want people in this town to miss this opportunity to come. After the game, they blow up this huge outdoor screen for a movie to be shown at the stadium just like a drive-in. They'll show a movie that's been in theaters recently and that's related to baseball," Mains said.
   In spite of slow economic times, Mains said the Parks and Recreation Department continues to offer the best resources it can to enhance fun in the area.
   "With the way the economy's been it's been tough to make any capital improvements. We've just been trying to get our facilities in shape and maintain what we have," said Mains.