City gets $333K grant for park

Conover received a $333,000 grant to create a park at Conover Station, which will add 48 percent to the city's park tally.

Conover Planning Director Lance Hight announced the city's receipt of a N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant for $333,744 at a recent council meeting. This grant requires a 50/50 match with the city.

However, Hight said the city can leverage the PARTF grant with the Cleanwater Management Trust Fund grant for $415,719, which the city received earlier this year. The cleanwater grant provides most of the total matching fund payment.

"By matching funds together, it increases the value," said Conover City Manager Donald Duncan Jr. "What this means for the taxpayers is less money is spent for the grant."

The city has to pay $7,900, which is about a 1.5 percent payment for the grant, Hight said.

The PARTF grant will provide walking trails, foot bridges to cross water features, lighting, landscaping, trash cans and benches, among other items. In addition, Hight said the walking trails will connect to the Carolina Thread Trail.

Hight said the grants' total $749,463 is the largest single investment into the Conover Parks System and increases the city's park acreage 48

"This is Conover's first PARTF grant," Hight said. "I am really happy we finally got one."

Conover Mayor Lee Moritz Jr. commended planning staff for applying for the grant.

"This is a great project for our city," Moritz said. "It's open space for our citizens."

Moritz requested that Hight and his staff look at playground equipment suitable for children of all abilities as they move forward.

Hight said city staff is still in the design process for the park and stormwater area. By early fall, he said the bidding process should start and contractors can start "moving dirt" in the winter. The stormwater project is expected to be finished by spring 2012.