By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – The city of Crockett received more good news earlier this week as City Administrator John Angerstein was informed the city had been awarded a $75,000 parks grant.
The grant is part of the Small Community Recreation Grants program for park projects in cities of less than 20,000 residents and is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
“The grants, allocated to local government entities, appropriate state and federal funding dedicated for the acquisition and/or development of public recreation areas and facilities in Texas on a 50/50 reimbursement match basis. Once funded, all grant-assisted sites must be dedicated as parkland in perpetuity, properly maintained and open to the public,” according to a news release from the TPWD.
“I heard yesterday (Wednesday, March 20) that we were approved. It was a unanimous vote from the Parks and Wildlife Committee. It’s a $75,000 grant with a $75,000 match so the total project is worth $150,000,” Angerstein said.
The city administrator said one of the big features of the proposed grant would be a splash pad with ground sprays and other water-related fixtures.
“It will also involve renovating and paving walking trails. There will be a butterfly and native plant garden with some nice landscaping. There will also be some additional benches and picnic tables along the walking trails,” Angerstein reported.
Other features of the grant will involve exercise equipment along the walking trails and the renovation of the two existing courts.
“This will occur in the Davy Crockett Park,” Angerstein explained, “and we already have some funds set aside for the match. We would like to increase some of that to ease the burden on the city. Our Parks Board meeting will be next Thursday (March 28) to discuss the roll out of this grant. We will move into the design phase and begin going out for bids. We want to see how much we can do in-house. We’re definitely looking for contributors for the match. Any businesses or private individuals who assist will receive recognition in the form of plaques and naming rights.”
In-kind donations of time and equipment will also be accepted by the city and will go towards fulfilling the match requirement, he said.
“If trenches need to be dug for the plumbing for the splash pad and someone has a tractor they want to donate for use in the project, they can. A lot of it can be in-kind,” he Angerstein said.
The project is slated to begin later this year but Angerstein said the city would have to get through the bidding process before he could give an estimate as to the completion timeframe.
Asked how the grant came about, Angerstein said over the last few years, several Crockett residents had voiced their concerns over a lack of activities for both children and adults within the city limits.
“They wanted the swimming pool to be re-opened and I tried that, but the grant budget wasn’t large enough to help repair the swimming pool. I tried to find some items that would give both kids and adults something to do as a replacement for the swimming pool,” he said.
While the cost of the swimming pool was prohibitive, Angerstein continued, “… we had to give our residents something to do. Our walking trails – if you go to the park anytime during the day or evening – they’re being used by people walking or jogging. I was trying to build on that by improving our walking trails and adding a few other things which would hopefully boost the city’s morale.”
He added, “This will be good for our community and everyone I’ve talked to is excited and their kids are excited, too.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.