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DeKalb County, cities receive grants to improve park facilities

Avondale Estates Decatur DeKalb County

DeKalb County, cities receive grants to improve park facilities

FILE PHOTO: Children head for the eggs during STAR Afterschool Program’s annual “Say No To Drugs” egg hunt at Ebster Park in the city of Decatur on Friday, April 15, 2022. Photo by Dean Hesse.

DeKalb County, GA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced preliminary grant awards for 142 projects that aim to improve neighborhood assets like parks, sidewalks, recreation facilities, and healthy food access. The grant awards total over $225 million. DeKalb County and the cities of Avondale Estates and Decatur will receive grants for various park improvements.

“With our partners on both the local and state levels, we’ve prioritized helping Georgia’s communities further recover from the pandemic with a bottom-up approach,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a press release. “[As of May 18], we’re investing these funds to see that those most heavily impacted have even more resources at their disposal, and I want to thank our partners for helping us make that possible.”

In accordance with grant requirements, awarded funds will go to eligible non-profits and local governments to utilize in improving or maintaining recreational facilities in Qualified Census Tracts or for repair or maintenance needs due to significantly greater use of public facilities during the pandemic, according to the press release.

DeKalb County will receive about $10.3 million that will be used at six park facilities.

“This funding will allow DeKalb County to make some needed repairs and upgrades at various neighborhood parks,” DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said. “DeKalb County is grateful to Gov. Kemp for this funding, which will directly benefit local communities and residents.”

Here is how the funding will be allocated:

– Gresham Park: $1.7 million for the installation of an LED system on eight athletic fields, replacement of the outdated football fieldhouse and batting cages.

– N.H. Scott Park: $2.2 million for the reconstruction of the pool and bathhouse.

– Truelove Park: $2.1 million for the renovation of athletic fields and concession building.

– Cedar Park: $1.7 million for the complete redevelopment of Cedar Park.

– Stoneview Park: $360,200 for the replacement of the pavilion and playground.

– Hamilton Park: $2.2 million for upgrades including a new roof for the community center, a new playground, athletic field renovations and acquisition of land to expand the park footprint for safe connectivity and additional parking.

“I would like to extend our gratitude to Gov. Kemp and the State of Georgia for our six awarded grants,” Chuck Ellis, director of the DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs said in the press release.  “DeKalb residents are visiting our parks more than ever, and each of the awards will greatly improve the quality of life in these communities.”

The city of Avondale Estates received about $393,000, which required a $20,000 match. The funds will be used for general park and playground equipment upgrades at Fletcher Park, a spokesperson for the city said. Fletcher Park is located between Lakeshore Plaza and Lakeshore Drive, south of Lake Avondale and along Cobb Creek.

The city of Decatur received about $2.08 million for improvements to Ebster Park. The grant, however, will not go toward the city’s plans to convert the grass field at Ebster Park to synthetic turf. The grant will go toward a number of other improvements.

“The improvements to Ebster Park will help improve access, lighting and shade in the park, address the availability of restrooms, and provide other amenities for community members,” Decatur Assistant Director of Recreation Sara Holmes said.

The city will hold a robust community engagement process to gather input on desired park amenities.

“The proposed project may include amenities such as improvements to the accessibility ramp, an addition of a restroom facility, the renovation of the basketball court, playground, and pavilion area as well as potential new amenities such as a skate park or an ‘all wheels’ feature,” Holmes said.

The city of Atlanta had several projects that were selected as well. Here is the full list of the grants allocated to the city of Atlanta:

Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Brian Kemp.

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