Resurrecting a 2009 Land and Water Conservation Grant through the National Park Service, Evarts City Councilman B.J. Fee Jr. told other council members during a meeting on Tuesday that a $23,700 matching grant is still available to the city.
The grant was approved by Gov. Steve Beshear during the late Mayor Burl Fee’s administration. However, the grant was placed on a back burner by Harlan County Fiscal Court.
“Back in 2009, the city applied for a grant to build a shelter house at the south Evarts RV Park,” said Fee. “The money is still there and will only be available until June 30, 2013. This is a matching grant and somewhere along the line the city and county didn’t get on the same page and the project was not completed. I asked what the grant could be used for and was told it has to be used for the public by the public with ties to recreation forever. It has to be maintained by the city.”
Fee suggested purchasing a gazebo for the park. He said a gazebo is considered a shelter and can be used for a number of things in connection to recreation.
“I talked to our Magistrate Bill Moore and he said if there is any way in his part of the budget that he can help with the project he will do so to help us get something done,” said Fee. “This is not a dire need, but it’s money sitting there for us to use. I think it would benefit the city greatly. Every year we have to borrow a stage for our Labor Day Festival, a gazebo would remedy that situation.”
Mayor Eddie Manning said it was his understanding when he took office that the grant was gone. He asked Fee what part Harlan County Fiscal Court will be responsible for in obtaining the grant.
“Everything was approved but nothing was ever done,” said Fee. “The scope, the budget — everything was approved. It was even voted on and a letter from Harlan County Judge-Executive Joe Grieshop was mailed to the Governor’s Office for Local Development advising them the Harlan County Fiscal Court would provide a local match in the form of materials, labor and equipment for the project. I think we still have their involvement in this.”
Fee said a new memorandum of agreement will have to be done because the grant is being changed from a shelter house to a gazebo.
“So, all we have to do, at this point, is make the purchase and send in for the draw,” said City Clerk Kristi Lamb.
Manning said the city will be responsible for approximately $4,000 between matching funds, labor, materials and equipment.
“Even if we have to come up with some money, this will be our tourism commission’s call. They actually have money they are going to have to work a scope up on,” said Manning. “I guess the next move for us is to get tourism on board with this. If the city can do any kind of labor and the county help us, we can get this moving forward.”
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