Santa Rosa County missed out on $150,000 in state grant funding for Navarre Park last July and resubmitted a $50,000 application in October. Now the county plans to seek $200,000 in federal grant funding for improvements.
However, the county will not be able to accept both the state and federal funding should both opportunities come to fruition. Santa Rosa County Grants Director Sheila Harris said that’s because both are funded through the same source, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is administered through the state office of Greenways and Trails.
Harris said she hopes to see how the county scored on the federal grant application prior to the county deciding whether or not to accept the state funding, which could potentially be offered in the summer of 2015.
According to Harris, last summer’s missed state grant funding opportunity was the result of a former commissioner’s hesitancy to use district recreation funds to provide a required match.
She pointed out that newly seated District 4 Commissioner Rob Williamson has agreed to provide a required $200,000 match to seek the maximum $200,000 available through the federal grant, which could potentially result in $400,000 worth of improvements at the county-owned facility.
In the past the county has sought grant funding for improvements to existing equipment, including the park’s splash pad and basketball courts, and for additions such as a handicapped-accessible kayak launch. Harris said refurbishing a boardwalk area which has been closed due to disrepair is also a possibility.
“We can look at repairing it,” she said.
Harris said she is planning a public meeting at the beginning of February to seek community input on which improvements to pursue ahead of the Feb. 27 federal grant application due date.
As seen in the Jan. 15 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online here.