Pell City awarded LWCF grant to improve recreational opportunities

2018-02-01 | St. Clair News Aegis

Jan. 25--The City of Pell City has received a $150,000 federal grant to help improve outdoor recreational opportunities.

The grant, made through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), granted a total of $1.5 million to counties and municipalities throughout Alabama to improve parks, playgrounds and sports fields.

"By enhancing outdoor recreational opportunities in our communities, these projects will make Alabama an even better place to live and work for families," Gov. Kay Ivey stated in a release announcing the grants. "I am pleased to play a role in helping local leaders complete these improvements, and I encourage everyone to experience the great parks and recreational opportunities these areas have to offer."

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) manages the LWCF program within the state. Congress created LWCF in 1965 to assist states with the development and preservation of outdoor recreational facilities.

"Some of a family's best memories are often formed by experiences at community parks, playgrounds and trails, and these projects will increase the opportunities for families to spend time together enjoying outdoors," ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. "With Gov. Ivey's support, ADECA is please to partner with these communities and groups to expand recreational opportunities."

Pell City intends to use the funds, as well as $150,000 in matching funds to supplement the grant, to construct two new tennis courts, install lighting at eight existing tennis courts and the two new tennis courts, and construct a support building with storage, restrooms, and an office at the Pell City Tennis Center.

These plans are part of a larger Pell City Civic Center renovation project, which includes relocation of power poles, extending the parking area, as well as extensive remodeling of the Civic Center interior. Relocation and upgrades to the workout room, warming kitchen, entrance area, restrooms, and offices have been discussed at Pell City City Council meetings and have gone through many revisions. Current plans estimate the total renovation costs at just under $3 million.

The original budget for the preliminary project suggested four years ago was set at $700,000 but those plans did not include civil improvements to the parking area or tennis courts.

"If we do this project, we need to do it the right way," Pell City City Council President James McGowan said.

"We need to revamp emphasis to the park to make sure we coincide with future projects we do," Councilmember Jay Jenkins added.

Plans for renovations have not been finalized, creating room for council members to adjust based on cost savings and project needs.

The Pell City City Council also approved modifying the access road from Highway 34 into the Civic Center and Lakeside Park, which will require relocating utility lines.

According to Pell City City Manager Brian Muenger, city staff met with Alabama Power, which will relocate two poles, transformer, and primary metering equipment for a quote of $10,103.84.

City-owned utilities will also need to be relocated, which include the relocation of a 40-foot utility pole, installation of a service meter, installation of 200-amp disconnect switch, and raising and relocating the transformer used for the tennis courts. Cost for labor and materials are estimated at $9,800 for this portion of the project. Funding for both expenses is available in the existing Repair and Maintenance operating budgets for the Civic Center and Lakeside Park.