Splash pad grant gets go ahead

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

With the promise of a $50,000 private investment, the Brundidge City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to seek a grant to fund a new splash pad and recreation park.

The council voted 4-1 to apply for a CDBG Community Enhancement grant in the amount of $250,000 to assist in the $675,000 project, which includes the construction of a recreation park that will include a splash pad, playground equipment, walking trail, parking lot and restroom facilities. The city’s contribution will be $375,565.

Council Member Cynthia Pearson, District 4, made a motion in favor of the park proposal that included the rubber safety surfacing.

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Council Members Betty Baxter, District 1; Arthur Lee Griffin, District 2; and Mayor Jimmy Ramage all voted in favor of the motion. Margaret Ross, District 3, voted no. Steven Coleman, District 5, was absent from the meeting.

City Manager Britt Thomas had discussed the project with the council and presented two funding options for the park. One option included rubber safety surfacing for the playground equipment. The other did not. The difference between the two was $28,000.

The park will include a natural walking trail as well as the splash pad, which will cost about $115,000. Thomas said the pad has a water recirculation system, which will help control the amount of water used at the park.

“The council might want to consider an asphalt walking trail at some point in time,” Thomas said. “The plan for the park includes four picnic tables and there is the possibility that a Brundidge civic organization would donate benches for the park.”

If the grant is awarded by ADECA, the city will supply a cash match of $258,068 plus $117,497 in in-kind services. Cornelius and Kimberly Griffin have pledged $50,000 to the project, fi the grant is awarded.

City officials originally said $100,000 would come from private investors, and the council had planned to vote on the grant application June 21 but delayed until Tuesday to allow time to confirm the private investment.

Thomas said it probably would be as late as the Spring 2017 before the construction phase could begin. “Because the splash pad is seasonal, I would think it would have first priority in the construction plans,” he said.

In other business, the council considered its options in the use of the funds the city received in the TransLoad America bankruptcy suit. The city received $232,000 in the settlement. Thomas said those funds could be used to reduce the city’s loan of $1.2 million for 22 acres purchased for the North Industrial Park. The loan has been reduced to its present balance of $587,839.

The council could also use the money or a portion of it to reduce the city’s commitment to the Community Enhancement grant if awarded.

Ross made a motion to use the entire amount to reduce the balance of the loan for the land purchased. The council voted in favor of the motion.

Thomas said the Army Corps of Engineers has been contacted regarding the flooding and eroding that occurs on Johnson and Darby streets when it rains. Mims Creek that borders the properties is clogged with sand, dirt and debris and no longer provides an outlet from rain water that pours into the area from several streets, including Main Street.

Residents of the area met with the city council on June 21 asking for the city’s help in rectifying the situation.