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Flat Rock wins $475,000 grant for park purchase

The Village of Flat Rock has won a $475,000 grant that will cover just under half the purchase price of the town's new  park.


The office of Gov. Pat McCrory notified village officials on Monday that the state had approved the town's application. The village council agreed to buy the Highland Lake Golf Club property for $1.15 million. The state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant will cover a January payment of $475,000, Mayor Robert Staton said.

The village applied for the PARTF grant last spring with help from Rebekah Robinson, administrative director of the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy. Although it made the cut for final consideration, the village missed getting a grant when the state Parks and Recreation Authority announced the first round of awards in May. The 15-member authority awarded the Flat Rock grant in round 2 last month.
"They had told us we were in good shape to get something but in my wildest dream I did not expect to get what we did get," Staton said.

The Village Council on Thursday authorized landscape architect Ed Lastein to proceed with the first phase of park improvements, which includes a new entrance and a new lower parking lot, rest rooms and a walking trail. The Village Council allocated $487,000 in its current budget for park construction.

The council also has agreed to bulldoze the Course Doctors office and golf cart shed. The concrete pad of the cart shed could be used as the floor of a picnic shelter. The village plans to keep the clubhouse, pro shop and deck for possible use as a community center or nature center, Staton said.

The Village Council also agreed that it will open the park for use by residents who want to walk there soon after the village takes possession on Nov. 15. The council agreed that the public section of the park can be separated easily from construction of the new roadway and parking lot.

"We've had a lot of people talk about how they can't wait until the village takes possession so they can start walking out there," Staton said. "It's a nice level walking area for us older folks. We can cordon off the construction and it won't bother the walkers and the walkers won't bother the construction."

For more on this story see this week's Hendersonville Lightning.