The office of Governor Roy Cooper has announced the award of more than $6.7 million in grants to fund local parks and recreation projects across the state, with Granville County being awarded $300,000 for the expansion of Granville Athletic Park (GAP). In an Aug. 24 meeting held in Raleigh, the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) Authority approved grants for twenty-seven projects which will help fund land acquisition, development and renovations for parks and recreation areas. Through this funding, approximately 14 acres of additional park space will now be developed and utilized for Granville County residents and visitors to enjoy.
The Phase III expansion of the GAP will include the addition of tennis courts, sand volleyball pits, paved and unpaved walking trails, a picnic shelter, horseshoes, playground equipment, open green space and nine holes of a disc golf course. All amenities in the Phase III site plan are reflective of top-rankings of a 2015 countywide recreation survey. Additional parking and restroom facilities will also be included in the expansion.
“We’re excited about expanding the recreational opportunities that the GAP has to offer,” said Charla Duncan, Management Analyst for Granville County, “and we’re grateful that the N.C. Parks and Recreation Authority believes in this project as well.”
The PARTF grant process was a competitive one, with 50 grant applications – totaling $12.6 million – considered. Other communities/counties receiving grant funding include New Bern (Craven County) for the first phase of a new park; Lake Lure (Rutherford County) for a new park acquisition; Morganton (Burke County) for a riverfront soccer complex; Elizabeth City (Pasquotank County) for improvements to their Coast Guard Park; and other projects ranging from $5,000 to $500,000. Awardees must match funds dollar for dollar for the awarded amount.
“What a great win for Granville County,” Mike McFadden, chairman of the county’s Recreation Advisory Committee remarked. “It was Charla Duncan’s hard work and perseverance in pulling this worthwhile phase of the GAP’s next expansion together and the strong support of the community that brought this grant home.”
The City of Creedmoor received one of the largest PARTF awards in this grant cycle, with its Community Center project receiving funding at the highest level of $500,000. Because of the potential benefit to patrons of the local Senior Centers, County Commissioners had also committed to a $350,000 contribution to the Creedmoor project, with funds approved at their Oct. 2017 meeting.
“We are proud that between the County and the City of Creedmoor, we were able to bring home $800,000 of state funding for recreation in Granville County through these PARTF grants,” Duncan noted.
Phases I and II of Granville Athletic Park’s development had been funded by PARTF in 2000 and in 2005. In 2013, additional acreage adjacent to the existing GAP had been acquired by the County for future expansion. According to Duncan, Phase III of the project has so far been funded with a 2016 National Parks Service Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for $250,000, along with a county match. This newest award of $300,000 will now be added, with a goal to complete construction in 2019.
“This additional funding will enhance our already wonderful park that we are so proud of,” Betty Lou Davis of the county’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee said. “Thanks to the Commissioners and to all of the people who visualized what this park could be, and worked so hard to accomplish this.”
With an additional focus on inclusive recreation, Granville County is also preparing to initiate adaptive recreational opportunities for those with special needs. Leading up to this PARTF award, Duncan had interviewed professionals with the Murdoch Development Center and Granville County Schools’ Exceptional Children’s Program about recreational options across the county. The Phase III project has begun a larger conversation about inclusivity and universal play and the lack of opportunities that many facilities provide for children and adults with special needs.
This conversation has resulted in a partnership between Granville County and the local United Way, as well as a three-year focus on creating more diverse and inclusive recreational opportunities at the GAP. The United Way’s funded agencies and corporate volunteer partners – Altec, Bridgestone/Bandag, the Masonic Home for Children and Falls Lake Academy – have already committed to several projects and will move into Phase III when construction is complete. So far, these projects include an outdoor classroom, a butterfly and sensory garden, a pickleball court and an upcoming “sound garden” with large musical instruments along a paved path.
“Phase III is a chance to diversify the recreational amenities that the County has to offer and make the GAP more inclusive of all needs,” Duncan said. “We are looking forward to exposing Granville County residents to new ways to be active and stay healthy.”
Granville Athletic Park is located at 4615 Belltown Road in Oxford.
For more information about the PARTF grant awarded to Granville County, contact Charla Duncan at email@example.com. To learn more about the grants awarded statewide, contact Ford Porter at 919-814-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.