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Park celebrates more than 35 years
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TDEC Commissioners Brock Hill and Bob Martineau, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and Park Manager Carl Halfacre cut the cake at the Edgar Evins State Park birthday party last week. - photo by Photo by: Reed Vanderpool
Edgar Evins State Park celebrated its 37th anniversary, and the 75th anniversary of the Tennessee State Park system Thursday.The park, named for former Congressman Joe L. Evins’ father, James Edgar, was dedicated in 1975, and now covers approximately 6,000 acres, ancluding 1,500 on north side of Center Hill Lake, and 4,500 largely undeveloped acres on south side of the lake.Park Manager Carl Halfacre was master of ceremonies at the celebration, which hosted State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, State Sen. Mae Beavers, former State Sen. Vernon Neal, Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau and the great- grandchildren of James Edgar Evins,Halfacre told the crowd that the park was the culmination of a nearly 20-year letter-writing campaign by Joe L. Evins with the goal of placing a state park on Center Hill.“It wasn't until 1969 that those dreams and those wishes came to fruition, when then State Sen. Vernon Neal got a bill passed to appropriate money to build a state park,” He said.Halfacre said that the park’s namesake was a man who wore many hats, serving as a school teacher, justice of the peace, mayor of Smithville and state senator, as well as being an entrepreneur with several businesses in Smithville, along with starting the first bus line from Smithville to Lebanon,Weaver and Beavers read a proclamation to commemorate the anniversary Thursday, and Cornelia Overton and Joseph Overton, James Edgar Evins great-grandchildren, played the national anthem.Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau and deputy commissioner Brock Hill also addressed the gathering.