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BOLIVIA—Two weeks after Brunswick County commissioners approved a Waccamaw Park master plan outlining potential improvements, the parks and recreation department is ready to start fundraising.
On Dec. 3 commissioners approved a plan for upgrading Waccamaw Park that could cost $2.9 million, but the board didn’t commit to spending money yet.
Parks and recreation director Jim Pryor told the board a master plan allows him to apply for grants that could cut down county costs.
He said Parks and Recreation Trust Fund money could be available.
“Two weeks ago you approved the Waccamaw Park Plan. We have an opportunity to go after funding from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund,” Pryor told the board at the Dec. 17 commissioners meeting.
The state trust fund offers grants with a 50/50 match from the county. The application must be submitted by Jan. 31.
“We are requesting to apply for a grant for phase one (of Waccamaw Park),” Pryor said.
Phase one would include adding a fourth ball field and batting cages, a playground, bocce courts, horseshoe pits, a picnic pavilion and picnic sites, disc golf, a restroom and concession stand and general site improvements.
Pryor said the first phase would cost $1.58 million. The trust fund would provide up to $500,000, which the county would have to agree to spend.
“The last thing we want is to get a grant (approved in late May or early June) that you don’t want to do. That would give a bad reputation to the county and to (the parks and rec department.)” Pryor said.
Commissioner Scott Phillips asked if it is possible to put off the grant application for a year if county funding was a concern.
“We want to see Waccamaw Park completed, but we do not want to do something to shed a bad light on us and cause you do to a lot of (unnecessary) work,” Phillips said.
Pryor said if they apply and receive the grant, the county has a three-year window to begin work.
“If we are approved for the grant, that starts a three-year ticking clock,” Pryor said. “Town Creek Park received a PARTF grant and (the county) has yet to agree to spend the money for that.”
Commissioner Pat Sykes said Town Creek received a $350,000 grant.
“So we have to do a $700,000 project (to match the grant funds),” Sykes said.
Sykes added the county should not commit to seeking grants for projects if they might cause the county to increase taxes.
“That’s your job, Mine is to bring these (grant proposals) before you,” Pryor said.
Phillips made a motion to approve the grant application, as long as they have three years to decide when to provide the funding.
Commissioners voted unanimously to go forward with the grant application.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.