Conover gets $333K grant for Conover Station park

Conover was one of 26 state municipalities to receive a grant for its Conover Station park.

State officials announced the award of $7.6 million in grants from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Conover received $333,744, from the grant program.

"I want to thank our staff for preparing such a great grant application," said Conover Mayor pro Tem Kyle Hayman. "Conover was competing with 80 grant applications across the state and only 26 received funding. I think this says a lot about our project, and I appreciate our state officials for recognizing the value of Conover Station."

Councilman Don Beal said the grant will only enhance the city's "green" project.

"The City Council has made the pursuit of these grants a focal point, in order to provide these much needed services that Conover currently lacks to our citizens at virtually no cost," Beal said. "This grant will enhance the appeal of Conover Station in downtown."

The state's local grant program was designed to partner with area governments to help create more outdoor space for residents.

“Through the local grant program of the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, state and local governments have been partners in providing green space, outdoor recreation opportunities and stimulus into local economies,” said Lewis Ledford, director of the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. “The result has been healthier citizens and improvement in the quality of life in North Carolina.”

Conover will use its funds to develop its Conover Station park, which will include a pavilion, pedestrian bridges, boardwalk, walking trail, playground, site lighting and steambank/stormwater structures. The park will also be connected to the Carolina Thread Trail.

The matching grants, awarded by the Parks and Recreation Authority, will help fund land acquisition, development and renovation of public park and recreation areas. The authority considered 80 grant applications requesting more than $23 million. A maximum of $500,000 can be awarded to a single project.

Hayman said Conover will "leverage" funds from the Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant that the city received in the past. Hayman said no additional dollars will be used to cover the match.

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is administered through the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation and was established in 1994 when the General Assembly dedicated 75 percent of the state’s share of the excise tax on real estate deed transfers to the fund. The revenue is distributed to three programs: 65 percent to the state parks system for repairs, capital improvements and land acquisition; 30 percent for matching grants to local parks and recreation programs for development and land acquisition; and 5 percent to the coastal beach access program.

Since 1995, the Parks and Recreation Authority has received 1,291 grant applications with requests totaling about $273 million. The board has awarded 672 grants for $151 million.