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New look coming to Century Park

August 26, 2014

Grant money from the U.S. Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1976 allowed the City of Greer to acquire land and develop Century Park, one of the most popular facilities overseen by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.

City officials anticipate a LWCF grant in 2014 helping to replace one of the park’s original structures – a deteriorating press box, concession stand, and restroom building that is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act – and eliminating stormwater issues at the site.

A $400,000 grant requiring a 50% match from the City of Greer has been recommended by the South Carolina Department of Parks Recreation and Tourism to the National Park Service for approval. The city will learn in September, when the National Park Service approves projects, if it may commence work on the project.

“We are excited at the prospect of having a building that is ADA compliant and we can address some of the stormwater issues with the new plaza area,” said Ann Cunningham, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “It will certainly help us become a more desirable site for baseball and softball tournaments.

Earlier this year, Greer City Council issued a letter of commitment as part of the grant application and approved funding the project through the city’s fund balance. The project total will be $400,000, and the city will be reimbursed $200,000 at the completion of the project.

Design and construction documents would be completed this winter with the project bid scheduled for next spring. To avoid any conflict with baseball and softball games at Century Park, demolition and construction would begin in the fall of 2015 and the project would be scheduled for completion early in 2016,

“We suspect we will be adding some additional resources to that site. We purchased some property next door for overflow parking and it’s very likely that we will be in a position through our hospitality fund that we would have available resources to use for the improvement and upgrade of that area,” city administrator Ed Driggers said. “This is a great opportunity for us. With the grant and the additional parking, we’re looking at probably in the range of $500,000 on the site. That will go a long way in making substantial improvements to Century Park.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced last month that it is distributing $43.38 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to all 50 states, the territories, and the District of Columbia for state-identified outdoor recreation and conservation projects.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell emphasized that Land and Water Conservation Fund grants not only improve the health and vitality of urban areas, but also boost local economies and support jobs in the outdoor recreation and tourism industries. A recent analysis of the Land and Water Conservation Fund found that every $1 invested in land acquisition generated a $4 return on the investment for communities.

“Investments in our shared outdoor heritage make sense not only for our land, water and wildlife, but they make sense for our economy,” Jewell said.