RALEIGH – Governor Roy Cooper has announced the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has awarded nearly $5 million in grants to 16 local parks and recreation projects across the state. One of the grants was awarded to Johnston County for the Greater Cleveland Park and Open Space. The grant is for $500,000.
“This preservation of open space and park property is an exciting addition to Johnston County. A grant award like this is only possible with the commitment of the County Commissioners and the support of the local communities. We hope this property will be the cornerstone to the development of a network of open space, trails and greenways,” said Adrian O’Neal, Parks, Greenways and Open-Space Coordinator for the County of Johnston.
O’Neal said this is one of two $500,000 grants Johnston County has applied for. The second grant will be awarded and announced in December or January.
“Local parks and greenways have been a safe place for North Carolinians to relax, exercise, and improve their quality of life during the stress of the pandemic,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “These grants will add and expand parks, trails, and recreational facilities to communities across our state, creating opportunities to enjoy North Carolina’s natural beauty.”
Local communities applied for the grants to fund land acquisition, development and renovation of public park and recreation areas. The N.C. Parks and Recreation Authority considered 66 grant applications requesting $20.5 million. Each year, the Authority is required to allocate 30% of its total funding to local government projects. The maximum grant awarded for a single project under the program was $500,000. Awardees must match funds dollar-for-dollar for the awarded amount.
Susi Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, said, “From our most rural areas to our largest towns and cities, Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grants inject new life into our communities and continue to benefit these areas for generations.”
In July 2020, Johnston County Commissioners agreed to buy a 77 acre tract of land at the intersection of Matthews Road and Polenta Road for $1.6 million. The grants will help offset the cost of the purchase.
The Greater Cleveland Athletic Association has agreed to managed the property for now, with no management cost or expenses to Johnston County. The site will initially be used for athletic fields.
The 16 grant recipients include: