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Welcome center bids top budget by $100K

Instead of renovating the former Highland Lake Golf clubhouse, the Flat Rock Village Council may remove it and put up a new modular building. Instead of renovating the former Highland Lake Golf clubhouse, the Flat Rock Village Council may remove it and put up a new modular building.

FLAT ROCK — Flat Rock park planners went back to the drawing board after construction bids for a welcome center and public restrooms came in $100,000 over budget.


The Flat Rock Village Council in June adopted a 2014-15 budget that allocates $363,300 in capital spending for the 67-acre park, including $150,000 for the last installment of the $1.15 million purchase, $147,000 for the clubhouse renovation, $54,500 for park buffering and $11,800 for other development costs.
Responding to the village's request for bids for the welcome center, Dunlap Construction of Hendersonville bid $261,416 and Brantley Construction Co. of North Charleston, S.C., bid $289,000. The work includes handicapped accessible restrooms and a welcome center with a community bulletin board and information about the park.
Mayor Bob Staton said the village tried to trim costs.
"We got them down some but we could get a new building for not a whole lot more," he said. "It would be on the same foundation, so we'd save money there. We can spec it the way we want so we get the exact layout we need for the handicapped restrooms. We'll just be better off all the way around. It'll he upwards of $200,000 — close to that. But it'll be a new structure."


Village to seek state grant

The Flat Rock Park and Recreation Foundation, in the meantime, is continuing its fundraising efforts, foundation director Maureen Adams told the council. She recommended that the village hire the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy to write a second North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant application. The village received a $475,000 grant to help buy the park in 2012. A new grant request would seek funding for a pavilion and a playground, Adams said.
Henderson County and the town of Mills River tried unsuccessfully for PARTF grants in the 2014 funding cycle. The city of Hendersonville, along with Flat Rock, plans to apply for funding in the 2015 cycle. After the perimeter trail and welcome center, the next priorities for park improvement are reforestation of a lower section of the park next to King Creek, a buffer between the park and the Highland Golf Villas, a main pavilion, playground, a core trail and smaller pavilion, a secondary trail and an interpretative center.
The land conservancy's Rebekah Robinson also worked on the village's grant application in 2012. The Park and Recreation Foundation wants the Village Council to pay the land conservancy $5,000 for the grant-writing services, with another $2,500 due if the town receives the money. The village will apply for a grant of up to $250,000, which it must match. The cost of the welcome center could count toward the match, Adams said.
"To me it's worth a chance," she said. "We might get it. Like Albert (Gooch, a Village Council member) says, the answer is no if you don't ask."
In other park news, the Village Council authorized Ricky Bishop, a Henderson County sheriff's department sergeant and cross country coach at Flat Rock Middle School, to host a cross-country meet at the park using the new perimeter trail on Sept. 16.
Village Council member Jimmy Chandler said the Storehouse, a non-profit agency, also wants to use the park for a 5-K race on Valentine's Day. As more requests come in, he said, the Village Council will want to set a policy on use of the park for events.