With unanimous approval from town commissioners and a guaranteed 87 out of 89 points toward a grant, the Wendell Parks and Recreation department will submit their Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant by the Feb. 2 deadline.
Jeff Polaski, director of the town’s Parks and Recreation department, feels confident that the town will receive the grant. He has garnered a grant for another town previously. The department learns in July whether the town will receive the grant.
“We’ve gone through this 100 times back and forth,” Polaski udated commissioners on the status of the grant application during their Jan. 26 meeting.
The application included the projected costs, the town’s contribution and capital plan, site maps and documentation including public surveys and justification for the project.
Commissioner Sam Laughery expressed concern about the town not being able to meet the proposed matching for projects like the Wendell Park improvements.
The town would contribute $306,250 of the $556,250 projected cost to build handicapped-accessible amenities, a soccer field, playgrounds, a walking trail, game courts and parking lots.
Polaski responded that the points system in the grant is only worth so much in the application – town couldn’t request too much from the state or their chances of consideration would decrease. The state, he said, prefers to offer money to as many towns as possible.
“We only get one chance,” he added.
One item that was particularly popular in public surveys, Polaski noted, was the extreme park – a concrete area for skateboards, BMX bikes and roller blades.
The only reason the town missed two points in the application system and did not achieve the full number of points was because it is not building its first park. Towns who are building their first park have a slight priority in the points system.
Due to the town’s projected growth, estimated to increase 123 percent by 2021, the projects and park improvements will be much-needed resources.
Commissioners across the board said they “had a good feeling” about the application and were excited to learn about the results.
“It’s outstanding that you got it done so fast,” Laughery said to Polaski.