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County seeks $500,000 state grant for recreation

Henderson County will apply for a $500,000 state parks grant that officials say could help pay for the Hendersonville Christian School purchase.

County Manager Steve Wyatt told the Board of Commissioners Monday night that the county won a waiver that will allow it to count the $910,000 purchase price of the property in addition to planned park improvements in its application for a state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant.

Under the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation rules governing PARTF grants, local government bodies that apply for park money must either own or have a long-term lease on the property they want to improve.
Commissioners voted last month to buy the 9.5-acre Hendersonville Christian School property for use as a recreation center and ballfields. In its decision to purchase the South Grove Street land for $910,000, the board also committed to spend $1,017,020 on startup costs and $284,000 for Jackson Park ballfield rehab and repair — a total of $2.2 million on recreation improvements.

The county's commitment to spend $1.9 million to buy and improve the school property for recreation would show a substantial commitment to the project above the minimum 50-50 match that many local governments make. "This will show the county's effort is great, by being able to include that $910,000," Wyatt said.

If the county won the PARTF grant, the county's cost would drop to roughly $1.4 million, still a 3-to-1 local contribution for a $500,000 grant.

The Board of Commissioners also got the news that closing on the county's purchase of the land and buildings has been delayed because a state law requires a review of such property sales. The sale has been delayed by up to 30 days because of a state law requiring approval by the state attorney general of the sale of property by a non-profit, county attorney Russ Burrell told the board. Burrell said after the meeting he expected the approval would come quickly given that the school is dissolving as a corporation and the sale proceeds will satisfy bank mortgages.