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Parks and Recreation Council receives state grant for land, new trails and complex improvements


The Polk County Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Board received a grant of $ 336,000 for the purchase of land, new trails at Little White Oak Mountain and several improvements to the Polk County Recreation Complex.

Governor Roy Cooper recently announced that the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) will provide more than $ 5 million in grants to fund 14 local parks and recreation projects across the state. The North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority approved the grants at its September 24 meeting via teleconference.

The Polk County PARTF grant that was chosen for funding is considered Phase 1 of the Little White Oak Mountain project and will provide the means to build several miles of mountain bike trails, an outdoor classroom, a bike repair station, trail side picnic area, corn hole / horseshoe pits and install new play equipment.

The project was described as follows in the grant application:

The application for the first phase of the Little White Oak Mountain trail system will fund the construction of the first 5.41 miles of trails. The first phase of the trails will be built on land that connects the Polk County Recreation Complex and Polk County Middle School. With these two user groups in mind, the proposed project will include two picnic areas and an outdoor classroom that will be available for anyone to use to further their outdoor education.

Polk County would also install a bicycle repair station, renovate the nearby playground to better accommodate users of all skill levels, renovate washrooms, and install a new cornhole and horseshoe station. In addition to these amenities and the construction of the trail, this funding will allow Polk County to purchase 140 acres of land from Conserving Carolina that connects the Little White Oak Mountain property to the new workforce housing complex. .

Future phases of the Little White Oak Mountain trail system will extend the project over its entire 10 mile length and build a greenway to connect to the housing complex.

“Local parks and recreation projects funded by these grants are especially important this year as public use of parks, trails and greenways increased during the pandemic,” Governor Cooper said. “These projects will provide families with additional healthy options for being active and outdoors near their homes. “

Local communities have applied for grants to finance the acquisition of land, the development and renovation of public parks and recreation areas. Each year, the Authority is required to allocate 30 percent of total PARTF funding to local government projects.

The NC Parks and Recreation Authority reviewed 58 local grant applications requesting a total of $ 19.3 million. The maximum grant awarded for a single project was $ 500,000. Winners must match funds dollar for dollar for the amount awarded.

“These grants will help communities in our state provide outdoor recreation opportunities that improve physical and mental health, improve quality of life and strengthen local economies,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the resource department. natural and cultural areas of North Carolina.

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