The city of Starkville’s Parks and Recreation Department has been running wide open getting parks ready as the summer months approach and word was received on Wednesday that the department will receive a substantial grant in the amount of $25,000 for improvements to J.L. King Senior Memorial Park.
Parks and Recreation Executive Director Gerry Logan confirmed the news on Wednesday, saying the city applied for and will be awarded a quality of life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
The funds will be awarded as a reimbursement grant and Logan said the money would primarily be put toward improvements on the J.L. King walking track — a project with a price tag roughly the size of the grant, according to past reports from the department.
“We also hope to make sidewalk improvements and hopefully have some funds to buy some ADA picnic tables and some new benches,” Logan said.
Logan said the walking track was included on the city’s list of three capital projects calling for replacements.
“We knew it was a need, but the question was when we would get it done,” Logan said. “The previous timeline was two years but with this grant we can start on it immediately.”
Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill praised Logan’s efforts in seeking out the grant money and hoped the city’s Board of Aldermen would approve the project to be put out for bidding in the next month.
Spruill then said getting the grant money would allow the city to continue to make improvements to its parks in a cost efficient way.
“Gerry has been amazing in getting grants, this is one he put in for as we tried to do things that would benefit the J.L. King area,” she said. “It is a continued effort on our part to make our parks the best they can be.”
While the primary focus for this particular project will be replacing the worn down walking track at J.L. King Park, Logan also said the city plans to resurface two basketball courts at J.L. King along with the basketball court at McKee Park.
He then said his department planned to resurface three of the tennis courts at McKee Park, while converting another to an exclusive court for Pickleball.
On Tuesday night, the Board of Aldermen approved the funds for those projects, which carry a total price tag of $43,900.
“Validation is a really good word because we do work hard and our staff works hard and the city works hard,” Logan said. “Everybody works so hard to do the best they can every day, when you get word for something like this … it feels good.”