Commissioners accept grant for Waccamaw park, agree to begin final design work

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By Brian Slattery

Parks and Recreation staff created a master plan for the first phase of construction of new facilities at Waccamaw Park, then applied for a North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant totaling $500,000.

The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which manages the PARTF grants, approved the full amount for the Waccamaw Park in May.

Jim Pryor, Parks and Recreation director, told county commissioners at the Aug. 29 meeting the grant is a 50/50 match with the county.

The county will match the $500,000 as part of $1.1 million budgeted for the first phase of the project.

Phase 1 includes renovations to three existing baseball/softball fields and the addition of a new field, a batting cage, a concession stand and restroom building, a playground and an expanded parking lot. Phase 2 would add a picnic shelter and picnic tables, a disc-golf course, bocce courts and horseshoe pits.

Pryor said if the commissioners agree to go forward, they have three years to complete the items funded by the PARTF grant money.

Commissioners approved accepting and matching the funds for the PARTF grant for the Waccamaw Park project with a unanimous vote, 5-0.

The board members also discussed approving a contract for the final design, engineering and construction management of the park.

Commissioner Scott Phillips said he was ready to approve the park contract, but wanted to know if the design and engineering work for Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the park project could be completed together.

“I’d like to do both phases at once. Will that affect the grant?” Phillips said.

As long as the facilities for Phase 1 are completed within three years, working on design and engineering of both phases will not affect the grant funding, Pryor said.

The county selected Site Solutions, working with Compass Pointe Engineering, to handle the design and engineering services.

“You have three options, you can approve phase one, the full project or nothing,” Pryor said.

Construction of both phases of the project is estimated to cost $2.9 million. The design work was negotiated to cost about seven percent of the construction price – around $215,000.

Chairman Phil Norris asked if keeping the two phases separate would allow the Parks and Recreation department to apply for another PARTF grant?

Pryor said they could apply for another grant, but the majority of the most expensive projects were included in the first phase grant application.

He didn’t think there were enough facilities to include for a second application to rank high enough to receive another PARTF grant.

“We would not score high,” Pryor said.

Commissioner Pat Sykes asked Pryor and the county administrative staff if there is money available to do the full project design.

“If we consider the full project can we pay as we go?” Sykes asked.

“We shouldn’t do it if we can’t pay for it. I don’t want to go into debt (for it).”

County Manager Ann Hardy said the county has a two-year plan that will likely have the money available to complete the project.

“I can’t guarantee it, but if you stay with the plan for one project a year there is enough money to pay cash,” Hardy said.

Norris said it would make sense to pay one time for the full design.

“I noticed there’s a good difference in the design cost to do phase one and to do the total project,” he said.

Phillips added the design cost differs by $80,000 for the full project. $215,000 compared to $132,000 for the cost to design phase one.

Norris asked if the new facility would have a septic system.

Pryor said it will be septic unless the county runs water and sewer out to the park. He added they will contact Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. about a site for a senior center that would make an ideal site for linking sewer to the park.

Sykes made a motion to go forward with a full project design.

The board members approved the full design request unanimously, 5-0.


Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.