FRDAP Grants May Fund Improvements At Two City ParksSep 12th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Front Page
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
At the Madison City Commission meeting, City Community Development Director Chuck Hitchcock spoke about two recent Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FDAP Grants) of $200,000 each for upgrading two parks in Madison – the Sumpter James Jr. Park at the corner of SW MLK and SW Bunker Streets (near the Madison County Health Department) and Lanier Field, located off NE Crane Ave. near where the new hospital is going up. The two grants, worth a total of $400,000 to add recreational facilities to the parks, would normally require a 50/50 match, but because Madison is located in an area recognized as a particularly needy region, no matching funds are required, so as Hitchcock has stated at a previous presentation to the Kiwanis Club, “no money is coming out of city coffers.” At the commission meeting, Hitchcock reported on the progress of the grant applications, as well as presenting updated schematics on the plans for Lanier Field and James Sumpter Park. At Lanier Field, where Hitchcock’s father used to play football, there are plans for new tennis courts at the far end of the field, between the end zone and the skateboard park. There will still be plenty of room for football games and visiting rodeos, since the entire football field will be left intact. Only the extra area beyond the end zone but still inside the athletic track will be used. Currently, there are plans for several adult and child-sized tennis courts, with temporary youth courts for older children in other areas, but plans could be changed to reduce the number of adult courts to one and move the youth courts into the same area inside the track. For many years, the city has had to do without any public tennis courts, but this project will finally address that void. Plans for Sumpter James Park call for additional playground equipment, a half-court basketball area, horseshoe pits, an exercise track all the way around the perimeter, with a brickwork paver design and a lighting system to match what is already in the downtown area. They also include grills, a picnic area, perhaps a gazebo or two, and a diagonal sidewalk across the park to match current foot traffic patterns of people who cut through the park on their way to the grocery store or other errands. The layout will try to group playground equipment for young children in the area of the park that is farther away from the two busiest streets, for safety reasons, and include some parking on the corner of Third and Miller streets. Since the city can also have an open grant application for the next grant funding cycle at the same time it is working plans for the current funding cycle, Hitchcock is also working on some ideas for the Jesse Solomon Park at Jeanette Circle.
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