A State grant approved this week will help fund several improvement projects at Azalea Park in Brookings.
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission (OPRC) voted June 14 to provide $418,365 in grant funding for the Azalea Park Ball Field Reconfiguration Project Phase 3 project. The project includes additional picnic tables, paving the Lundeen Lane parking lot, installing lighting for the Lundeen parking lot and all athletic fields, and athletic field scoreboards. The total project cost is estimated at $703,265.
Parks and Planning Manager Tony Baron, who prepared the grant application, said “I am almost without words to express how I feel about being able to move forward with this project. We are so fortunate to receive this state funding as well as funding from the West Family Foundation, local non-profit organizations and the Governor’s Regional Solution program.”
“Tony has done a phenomenal job in developing the plans for park improvements, securing funding from various sources and managing the construction,” said City Manager Gary Milliman.
This is the second grant from OPRC received by the City for the Azalea Park Ball Field Reconfiguration Project. $386,128 in grant funding was secured for two earlier phases. The fourth and final phase of the project would include the installation of artificial turf on the playing fields to make the fields playable year-round.
“Our goal in this combination of projects is to make Azalea Park a preferred venue for not only local events, but to also attract regional tournaments and other events,” Mayor Jake Pieper said. “Azalea Park is a special place where we try and maintain a balance of passive and active recreation. It has become a popular venue for events, and the addition of paved parking and lighting will expand the hours and variety of use.”
The Phase 3 project is among 15 recommended for funding within the $4.5 million available statewide, captures about 9.2 per cent of total funding available statewide and is the fourth largest grant award. A total of 23 projects with grant requests exceeding $7.0 million were received.
The City is pursuing increases in franchise fees to make them comparable with other cities across the state to generate sufficient revenue to meet the local match requirements for state/federal grant programs. Match requirements for transportation projects are increasing. Having funds available for the local match can enable us to “leverage” state and federal funding that would otherwise not be available to us to help fund local programs and projects.