Here we ‘grow’

Published 6:52 am Monday, March 25, 2013

AHOSKIE – The Ahoskie Creek Recreation Complex keeps growing.

On Tuesday, the Ahoskie Town Council gave the green light to proceed with a grant application to CAMA for $106,852 that, if approved, will help pay for a second concession stand/restroom building as well as an additional playground for children.

“This project is a continuation of the original plan design that we have divided into various phases because we didn’t have the funding to do them all at one time,” Town Manager Tony Hammond told Council members. “This is another part, or phase, of the original project that called for a concession stand and restroom over near the athletic field where the road curves at Lakeview Drive, and for another children’s playground.”

This particular portion of expansion at the Complex comes with a price tag of $118,725. Of that amount the town’s match is $11,873.

“We’re seeking $106,852 from CAMA,” Hammond said. “What we’re seeking from Council is your approval to a resolution that will authorize me and the Wooten Company (the town’s engineering firm) to continue moving forward with this project.”

Hammond reminded Council members that if the grant is approved they were not binded at a later date to accept it.

“You can decide that if the grant is approved,” Hammond said. “This is a good match as we’re investing nearly $12,000 for a project that’s worth close to $120,000.”

Councilman Maurice Vann motioned to approve the resolution. Councilman Malcolm Copeland offered a second and the measure was approved without objection.

At their January meeting, Council members were updated on a larger phase of improvements to the Recreation Complex. That phase is priced at $354,000, but will cost the town only $67,000. The bulk of those costs are covered by a $177,000 PARTF (Parks and Recreation Trust Fund) grant plus an accompanying $110,000 grant from CAMA.

Hammond said that stage of development will include an 90-vehicle gravel parking lot adjacent to the multi-purpose athletic field (corner of Lakeview Drive and Camlin St.), a dog (walking/exercise) park, a covered picnic shelter (105 foot by 50 foot), a walking trail (from the end of Forest Drive and follow a path on the outside perimeter of the complex), and a Frisbee golf course.

Hammond said the town would handle the majority of the construction in an effort to save money.

“The dog park, a half-acre within a fenced-in area, and the picnic shelter will be done under our auspice,” Hammond noted. “Once the contract is signed we’re going to start on those projects. We’re buying the picnic shelter, but we’ll do the foundation and put it up.”

Phase 1 of the park is already in place, to include three lighted baseball/softball fields, a small picnic shelter, playground, parking lot, multi-purpose field and a beach volleyball court.

Prior to that, the town began the development of this area on its own (without grant funding) by constructing an amphitheater and soccer fields.

“What we have accomplished with grants and our own funding is transform a 74-acre parcel into a recreation complex unmatched in a local tri-county area,” Hammond stated.

The complex is located primarily on land that once served as a sprawling residential neighborhood wiped out in the massive flooding of Hurricane Floyd in 1999. FEMA purchased those lots from individual property owners, turning it over to Hertford County local government who eventually transferred ownership back to the town. In the ensuing years, town officials have purchased additional property in that same area to add to the recreational complex.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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