Columbus to apply for grant for vets park improvements

Published 2:35 pm Friday, December 4, 2009

The Town of Columbus has decided to apply for the 2010 N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant (PARTF) for veterans park expansion and repairs.

Columbus met last week and decided by a 3-1 vote to apply for the grant and include only the purchase of additional land and the refurbishing of the fountain at an estimated $105,000 total.

Council member Margaret Metcalf voted against applying for the grant. She said the town shouldnt include the fountain refurbishing in the grant because the town crew can do the work and increasing the grant funding also increases the towns match. Other council members and the town manager said that including the fountain work in the grant application the town will be able to pay itself back half of the costs if it receives the grant.

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The town will be required to match the grant 50/50 and is currently seeking private fundraising to help with the project.

The town’s application for the 2009 PARTF grant, which was denied, also included costs for a shelter at the park. Town officials decided they may have a better chance at being funded with just the land purchase and fountain work.

The adjacent lot is currently for sale and the town estimates it can be obtained, including closing costs for about $100,000. The fountain refurbishing has been estimated at $5,000 with the town doing the work. A contractor gave the town an estimate of $7,500 last month.

Columbus has already received three grants totaling $48,000 for the project along with donations of $1,500.

Columbus presented resolutions to WJFJ Radio as well as local organizations in thanks for recent fundraising efforts for veterans park. WJFJ Radio recently raised $1,345 for the project through a radio-thon and $1,030 was raised through a hot dog sale by the Mill Spring VFW Post 10349 and its ladies auxiliary, the Columbus VFW Post 9116 and its ladies auxiliary and the American Legion Memorial Post 250 and its ladies auxiliary.

If approved, the town will be able to use other grants and donations as its portion of the match for the PARTF grant.

Costs for the total veterans park expansion project are estimated at $144,500, with the shelter estimated at $30,000, engineering at $9,500, the land at $100,000&bsp; and the fountain refurbishing at $5,000. Other grants may be sought in the future to finish out the project.

Donations can be sent to Columbus Town Hall.