The City of Clinton has received a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) grant that will pay 50 percent of the price tag on a half-million dollar facelift of Royal Lane Park, planning for which is now underway.
“I’m proud to announce that we did receive the 2015 PARTF grant for Royal Lane Park Phase I,” City Recreation director Jonathan Allen stated at the end of Wednesday night’s City Council meeting.
“That’s a quarter of a million dollars and we’re gonna match it — that’s half a million dollars into the park,” Mayor Lew Starling professed. “It will have a very new, updated facelift. This is big, big news for the city.”
The news comes a year after Council gave its approval for the Recreation Department to move forward with putting together a PARTF application that could potentially pay half the cost, the city matching with $250,000 of its own funds. That cost is already included in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan.
Allen and city staff met with civic clubs, held community meetings and gained approval from the Recreation Advisory Board on the proposed Royal Lane Phase I project before receiving the official Council nod to submit the application in January 2015.
Positive feedback was received from the public, and city staff were optimistic about getting similar response from Park Authority officials considering the application.
An unsuccessful PARTF grant application for the initial stage of the Royal revamp prompted a return to the drawing board in November 2014 when Allen presented Council with the scaled-down PARTF proposal — the $500,000 project.
The city scored well on its previous application and staff took the opportunity to seek advice from the Park Authority in an effort to improve the city’s chances this time around. Allen said the project’s scaled-down nature and the Park Authority’s familiarity with it put the city in a good position. City manager Shawn Purvis agreed.
The project is Phase 1A of the master plan for the park’s renovation and seeks to reorganize the park to create a better flow throughout, Purvis has noted.
The park project will include a new entrance monument, enhancing the multi-purpose field for soccer and football, adding a 1/4-mile walking trail, resurfacing the track, consolidating and renovating playgrounds and adding a picnic shelter, new landscaping and parking.
“These elements and their location were strategically chosen in order to meet the current needs of the community while also providing visibility for the project that will build momentum and support for future phases,” the project description in the PARTF application stated. “This phase will be the first step towards a master plan for the park that will create efficiencies by grouping facilities together … to improve circulation, create synergy between elements, reduce park maintenance costs and allow for tournament use of fields and courts.”
Early this year, Purvis said he would be “at a loss” if the city’s PARTF application was again unsuccessful. No need to worry now. On Wednesday, the city manager said it was “great news.” Mayor Lew Starling concurred, praising Allen and the rest of the staff for their hard work, asking that a round of applause be given.
Starling called the grant award “big news” for the city.
“That will bring a big facelift to that park,” he said. “Santa came to us early this year. I’m pleased they had confidence enough in us to give us the grant. That means a lot.”
Purvis stated in his reports that planning for the logistics of the project is underway, and Council will be kept updated.
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