A special-called Hancock County Fiscal Court meeting was held on Thursday morning, May 25th. A public hearing was held for any questions or comments concerning a project of adding new multi-sensory playground equipment at Vastwood Park’s main playground.
Hancock County Fiscal Court Clerk & Judge/Executive Assistant Sage Petrie said the total amount for the new project is $405,000. The grant they’ve applied for would pay half of that total amount, if approved, and the fiscal court would be responsible for the other half.
This is a separate grant from the $200K Land & Water Conservation Fund Grant that was awarded last year through the GRADD/Hancock County partnership for construction of a spray park/splash pad at Vastwood Park Lake.
“These grants open annually,” Young said. “We can apply annually, and of course, we want to apply every year if we have one we think is a good project that could possibly be funded, because that’s just more money we can bring into Hancock County for projects. The largest amount that could come from the Land & Water Grant is 50 percent of the project, up to $250,000, so we tried to maximize the amount that we could possibly apply for.”
Young said the goal is to provide an area that is sensory-rich for children of all abilities. “It has a maze consisted of panels. It has different textures and colors, as well as other interactive pieces for them to play with,” she said. “Children of all different abilities will be able to participate and play together. It’s going to be where our large playground is in Vastwood. We’re going to make an addition right next to it, so it will be part of the playground.”
It could take as long as 2 years before it is known when construction would begin. It depends on how long the state takes to review the project. “If the state approves the project,” she said, “they then send it on to the national parks system and they review the project as well. That is where the final say-so comes from as far as the award.
Sometimes it can take over a year and a half before we even find out if we’ve been awarded. And then, the follow-up paperwork has to be signed for contracts. Sometimes it can take as long as 2 years just to see is you’re going to be able to start construction. We’re hoping it won’t take that long, but it seems like things have been slow these last few years.”
New Committee Members
In addition, three new members were appointed to the Re-Apportionment Committee: Ricky Shultz, Jerry Smith and Nathan Powers. Young said, “Our magisterial districts did not change. The boundaries on those did not change, but we are required by the state to go through the motions to look at the numbers and make sure everything is still correct.”