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Bertie officials approve upgrade at Rec complex

WINDSOR – Bertie County’s Recreation Complex at 1538 S. King Street here will be getting a special face-lift while another county community could also be in line for securing a recreation upgrade.

The Bertie County Board of Commissioners at their recent meeting voted unanimously to approve the recommendation made by county Parks & Recreation Director Donna Mizelle to select Landscape Structures, Inc. as the firm to construct a handicap accessible, all-inclusive playground at the Bertie County Recreation Complex.

Bertie County has received $300,000 for the construction of such a playground from Trillium Health Resources, a local government agency that manages mental health and provides developmental disability services and formerly known as East Carolina Behavioral Health.

The original grant award was $250,000; then in late November, Trillium awarded Bertie County an additional $50,000 to assist with the cost of additional playground features such as misters, seating, and fencing for a handicap accessible swing.

The Commissioners received two rounds of proposal presentations for this project beginning in October when Dan McSweeney and Lindsay Richardson from Carolina Parks & Play/Landscape Structures appeared before the Board, as did Scott Cunningham and company from Cunningham Recreation; each expressing their services should they be awarded the construction project.

Two weeks later at their Nov.16 meeting the Board received the second round of presentations for the project from three more playground companies: Kristi Pate of Bliss Products & Services, Inc.; Susan Paschal of Play World Preferred; and Chip Zechman of Play World Products.

Construction of the playground must be completed by June 2016. Trillium grants will also help to build similar playgrounds in 10 other Eastern Carolina counties and communities, including the town of Ahoskie.

In a related note, the Commissioners discussed another opportunity for additional recreation funds that could soon become available which would assist, among other things, the renovation of a current recreation facility in the Blue Jay community near Indian Woods.

Anthony Smallwood and Columbus Williams, two Blue Jay residents, were in attendance at the Commissioners’ meeting there to represent the community based non-profit organization Blue Jay Recreation.

After some discussion, Commissioner Ronald “Ron” Wesson made a motion to enter into a 30-year lease agreement with the Blue Jay community at a cost of $1 so that the county could then be permitted to use any newly received grant funds to renovate the current recreation facility, as well as to add a pavilion, walking track, and a new baseball field among other enhancements.

The motion was seconded by Commission Chairman John Trent, and passed unanimously.