SOUTHEAST NC – The NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) has awarded more than $ 5 million in grants, Governor Roy Cooper announced last week. The money will be distributed to 14 parks and recreation projects across the state, including Brunswick and Pender counties.
“Local parks and recreation projects funded by these grants are especially important this year as public use of parks, trails and greenways increased during the pandemic,” Governor Cooper said in a statement.
Located at 113 Town Hall Dr. in Leland, the 8-acre Founders Park is among the recipients. The park hosts live concerts and community movie nights in the spring and fall, as well as holiday events, from trunk or Halloween treats to Christmas lights. Its open green space features a 0.6 mile paved multi-use trail, as well as a gazebo, stage, picnic tables, benches, and a play area.
In January 2021, the City of Leland developed a site master plan to modernize Founders Park in several phases. The first phase is expected to cost $ 3,613,357 in upgrades.
“The total expected cost (in today’s dollars) for all phases of the project is $ 6,875,055,” said City of Leland spokesperson Jessica Jewell.
The founders will receive $ 489,000 in PARTF grants to continue its first phase of construction, which is expected to begin in 2022.
“We do not yet have an estimated completion date,” added Jewell. “Other phases of the project will come in the following years.
The money will be used to implement recreational elements including the addition of an amphitheater, playground, wading pool, fitness stations, natural play area, renovations hiking trails, picnic shelters, a veterans memorial, more parking, toilets and site furniture.
“Now, people looking for ways to stay physically active and connect with nature and with each other will have a newly renovated facility to do just that,” said Wyatt Richardson, director of operations services at the town of Leland.
North of Wilmington in Surf City, the Earl G. and Inez Batts Recreation Complex will receive $ 500,000 – the maximum grant amount awarded – from PARTF grants. The town of Surf City has applied for a grant of $ 1.4 million to equip 53.8 acres of new parks, including a skatepark, walking trails, an all-inclusive playground, an 18-hole disc golf course, beach volleyball courts and more.
This year, the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority received 58 requests representing needs of $ 19.3 million. Parks that receive the grants must also match the funds dollar for dollar of the amount awarded. Each year, the authority must allocate 30% of the total financing of PARTF to local authority projects.
“These grants will help communities in our state provide outdoor recreational opportunities that improve physical and mental health, improve quality of life and strengthen local economies,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the resource department. natural and cultural heritage of North Carolina, in a statement. Release.
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