Pasquotank is seeking a second state grant to help buy land for a new park in Newland.
The county should find out next month if it will receive a N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant it applied for earlier this year to pay for half of the $612,000 purchase price for a 51-acre site off U.S. Highway 158 for the park. The site is the former Morgan’s Corner Pulling Park that closed in December 2017.
The county now also plans to submit a grant application to the state Land and Water Conservation Fund that would fund the rest of the purchase price. The grant application deadline is Oct. 1.
“A LWCF grant could potentially match against the PARTF grant, if we receive it, to fund 100 percent of the land purchase,” said County Manager Sparty Hammett.
If both grants are awarded that could free up a little over $300,000 the county committed to match the PARTF grant. That money could be used for park amenities, said Commissioner Sean Lavin who represents the Outside Northern district on the commission board.
The land deal, however, is dependent on the county receiving the PARTF grant.
“We do have an amount budgeted for this park that we have carried over from year after year,” Lavin said. “We are committed to it either way. We would like to get a little more for our money and these grants act as multipliers for the resources in the county.’’
Lavin said that if the county is able to fund the total land purchase with state grant money it could speed up the process of opening the park.
“We have been trying to get that park going for a while,” Lavin said. “It’s definitely something the people up there have been tracking, pushing for. They have been very patient as we try and navigate this and find the best way to pay for it through some of these grants.”
The county went through a lengthy application process for the PARTF grant that included holding two public hearings to gauge support for the park.
Demonstrated public support for the project was a requirement in the PARTF grant application process and citizens voiced overwhelming support for the project.
The LWCF application process is similar to the PARTF grant but Elizabeth City Grants Administrator Jon Hawley said the support shown at the two meetings can be used for the LWCF grant.
“A lot of what we have already compiled, the public meetings we have already done, should transplant over to this grant application,” Hawley said.
If the county purchases the former pulling park property, county officials have said a consultant will be hired to develop a master plan that will address what amenities the park should have. The county will also seek additional grant money to help pay for park features.
The Newland park development would be split into two phases with Phase 1 including features like a walking trail, picnic pavilion, restrooms, playground and sports field. Phase 2 development isn’t anticipated to begin for at least 10 years.
Public input will also be sought for what amenities the park will have.