LUMBERTON – Plans for various improvements to the Dr Raymond B. Pennington Sports Complex were approved by city council on Wednesday.
Council approved a new site plan for the complex, formerly known as Northeast Park, as part of the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant application process. Plans include a wading pool, dog park, expanded play area, concert pitch / group hull, new football and softball fields, 18-hole disc golf course, fitness stations, a skate park, facilities for field sports like tennis or basketball, and approximately 5 1/2 miles of walking trails.
The majority of the improvements would be located on land surrounding the existing park space that has been added to the park since the approval of its original site plan in 2005.
“It’s a great park site,” said Jeff Ashbaugh, senior project manager at Alfred Benesch & Company, who presented the new site map. “You’ve all done a great job putting the land together because you can do whatever you want on this site, there’s a lot of room to spread out.”
The 2005 sitemap is the most recent sitemap. A new plan is therefore required to be eligible for the grant. The specific ideas for improvements were based on feedback received at the public workshops, Ashbaugh said.
The plan has an approximate cost of $ 18,337,684, but the plan will be developed in eight phases. The PARTF grant will cover part of the costs of the first two phases, which include the addition of a playground, playground swings, dog park agility equipment, a 1 / 4 of a thousand and two multisport / football fields.
“I’m happy to see that the park will move forward and move forward with some additions,” said Councilor John Carroll. “I had several people in the community to contact me. I know we drew well for Little League baseball tournaments, and I think we could use it as a softball drawing card.
This opening phase of the project will cost approximately $ 1,433,495. Of this amount, the City will allocate $ 10,000 to help the Friends of Recreation build a dog park. The Lumberton Visitors’ Office will contribute $ 500,000 for soccer fields and washrooms, and the PARTF grant provides $ 400,000. The city would provide the remaining balance of $ 533,495, according to city manager Wayne Horne.
This is pending approval of the PARTF grant.
There is no guarantee that the grant will be approved as PARTF funds have been reduced in recent years and this is a very competitive grant process, said Horne. The Board will have to accept the grant if approved, and at that time make plans to cover the rest of the costs.
A motion to approve the site plan and an additional motion allowing municipal staff to submit the PARTF grant application were both approved unanimously. But concerns were still raised by some members of the Council.
Councilors John Cantey and Eric Chavis both asked what efforts were being made to improve parks in other areas of the city, namely Luther Britt Park in West Lumberton.
“I understand how we have to make the park bigger, attract more businesses, attract more income,” Cantey said. “But as a board member for 10, 12 years, I’m still going to say, of course, let’s do what we need to do for this park, but also do what we need to do for our existing parks around town. … I have great reservations about modernizing other parts of the city and not our part of the city. “
In other matters, council approved four projects for the city’s water and sewage system.
One of them authorized the city to apply for a revolving loan of $ 2.7 million for the state of North Carolina to rehabilitate the sewers on East Fifth Street and rebuild the Outer Banks lift stations, Freeman and Ramada Inn. The project also includes the installation of a new generator at the wastewater treatment plant, which the city’s public works manager Rob Armstrong said was the most expensive part of the project.
For this project, the city targeted lift stations that were flooded and out of service after Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, and those that have a lot of flow, Armstrong said.
Of the city’s 49 ski lift stations, the three chosen for this project were the oldest and most in need of rehabilitation, Horne said.
The city will fund the project at around $ 200,000 per year over 20 years, Horne said. The city has reduced its water and sewer debt by approximately $ 900,000 over the past two years, freeing the city to take on additional debt for new projects.
Council also approved the purchase of a replacement pump for the Harrill Road lift station, which Armstrong says is one of the largest and most critical in the system. A specific type of pump will need to be purchased from Xylem Water Solutions USA Inc. at a cost of $ 24,136.08, to be paid out of the water and sewer operating budget.
Obtaining a revolving loan from the state of $ 450,000 to pay for the disposal of sludge from the backwash lagoon and for repairs and modifications to the lagoon once it is emptied. was also approved by Council, as was the disposal of filter media at the city’s water treatment plant at a cost of $ 33,250, which will be used to use money from the water improvement fund and city sewers.
In other cases, the Council:
– Scheduled a public hearing for its May meeting regarding an annexation request by the Lumberton Housing Authority for a property on Caton Road. A request to rezone the property so that the LHA can build a housing complex on it was approved at a previous Council meeting.
– Asked city staff to investigate a petition for a contiguous annexation request from Barbara Lynn Cagle Benton for a property on Arbor Lane.
– Approved a loan of $ 277,000 from BB&T for financing vehicles, equipment and repairs and a loan of $ 575,000 from First Bank for equipment, crane truck and repairs.
– Approved the allocation of $ 350 in community revitalization funds for Cruising Second Street; $ 750 for a lunch for the Robeson County Adolescent Community Emergency Response Team; $ 1,400 for the Youth Mentorship Program at the Center de transport en commun; $ 800 for the Randy Rust Memorial Golf Tournament at Robeson County Church and Community Center; $ 600 for the Shriners’ Sudan Pirates fundraiser; and $ 700 for the Robeson County Arts Council.
– Appointed Carroll to represent city council as a voting delegate at the North Carolina League of Municipalities CityVision conference, which is scheduled for later in April.
– Voted for the installation of four-way stop signage on Walnut and 19th streets.
– Property approved for lease on Lowery Street to owners of adjacent properties for $ 1. The property was one of the city’s buyout properties under the Risk Mitigation Grant program and is now vacant land. The motion also gave city staff the power to enter into similar leases for other similar properties, as the situation is likely to repeat itself as the city moves away from Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.
Chris Stiles can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected]