Luverne to apply for playground grant

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some citizens have expressed interest in obtaining improved playground equipment for Luverne’s Turner Park, and the city council has agreed to apply for a grant.

Luverne resident Travis Colquett presented a proposal for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to the Luverne City Council on Monday.

He said much of the playground equipment has been there for decades and the town is in need of a better facility, like those found in Andalusia and Elba.

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“If a family goes to Elba or to Andalusia, where do they spend their money when they go eat afterward?” Colquett said. “Luverne is sort of the hub for the county. Turner Park is where the baseball teams are, and people from all over the county come to play there.”

Colquett said he has talked to a number of parents at baseball games, and there was interest in the idea.

He has also presented the idea to the Luverne Kiwanis Club, which supports the effort.

“If you improve it, I think we’ll see more people come into town,” Colquett said. “If nothing else, it would improve the beauty of the park we’ve got.”

Colquett said he has talked to a number of people about potential grants, and funding may be available through an LWCF grant.

Luverne already has an application in for a Community Block Development Grant to improve water systems, and only one CDBG grant is allowed to be open at one time.

However, LWCF grants and CBDG grants are awarded separately even though both are funded through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

“The park was actually built under LWCF,” said city engineer Morris Tate. “I don’t think there’s anything that would prohibit Luverne from applying.”

Tate also said that recent upgrades to lighting at the park would also reflect favorably on a grant application.

The grant would require a 50 percent local match if it was awarded, which could equate to as much as $50,000.

“There would have to be some private investment needed,” Colquett said.

He said the city wouldn’t be obligated to donate any money to the project, but he needed the city’s support because only a municipality can apply for the grant.

The council approved a motion to apply, and the pre-application is due May 31.

“I think this could be a great benefit to the community,” said Colquett, who thanked the council for their support.