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Ahoskie plans to expand recreation complex

AHOSKIE – The Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex is less than one year old, but is already experiencing growth at such an early age.

At their regular monthly meeting here Tuesday morning, the Ahoskie Town Council voted unanimously to seek funds from two granting agencies in an effort to expand the complex (formerly known as the FEMA buyout area behind the hospital and adjacent to the Ahoskie Creek).

Ahoskie Town Manager Tony Hammond proposed Phase 1B of the recreational complex. That expansion would include a 3,400-foot asphalt trail (8-foot wide and ADA assessable) that follows the edge of the Ahoskie Creek. The cost of the trail is projected at $82,000. Also included in the expansion are a one-half acre Splash (water) Park, a Dog Park and a parking lot with a 150-car capacity.

The Splash Park (50-foot by 60-foot at a price of $225,000) will feature 11 water elements. It also features a water reuse system.

The $25,000 Dog Park will be fenced in with double gates. It includes water and litter stations.

The parking lot comes with a price tag of $160,000.

Adding in the contingency fee and the costs of planning, Phase 1B of the complex is expected to cost $615,000.

To pay for the project, Hammond requested council members to approve two grant requests – one to the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) in the amount of $307,500 and the other from CAMA (a coastal area management organization) for $276,750. The remaining $30,750 would come from the town.

“That’s a pretty good deal, getting $600,000 worth of park improvements for our investment of about $31,000,” Hammond noted.

Hammond added that the grant applications were due by the end of this month.

Upon a motion from Councilman Ronald Gatling and a second from Councilman Buck Suiter, the grant proposals were approved without objection.

Prior to the vote, council members and Hammond briefly discussed the current status of Phase 1A of the recreational complex. The town manager said all elements of Phase 1A would be completed this year. Those elements include three baseball/softball fields (all lighted), a lighted football field, two beach volleyball courts, covered shelters, concession stands, restrooms and a playground.

Two soccer fields and the Ahoskie Amphitheater are already completed.

In July of last year, the town received a $500,000 PARTF grant and borrowed $1.1 million from RBC Centura to launch its plans for turning the old buyout area into a recreational complex.

The recreation loan will be repaid ($73,333.33 annually) over a 15-year period at a 3.99 percent interest rate. Due to Ahoskie’s strong debt management procedures, there will be no need to increase property taxes to repay the loan.