Three Stanly municipalities receive grants from county commissioners

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners, three Stanly municipalities received recreation grants from the county, all by unanimous votes.

Albemarle Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Kiser presented her request to the commissioners.

With the growth of the sport of pickleball, Albemarle recently converted the three tennis courts at Rock Creek Park into 10 pickleball courts. The city was seeking $6,500 for windscreens, bleachers, benches, picnic tables, signs and trash cans for the new courts.

In 2018, Kiser said, Albemarle started having pickleball leagues, and have setups at both the Niven Community Center and the E.E. Waddell Centers for pickleball. More than 200 people from around the county play in local leagues, including players from New London, Norwood and Richfield. She said players also come from Concord, Mount Pleasant, Troy and Salisbury to play in the city’s leagues.

A FEMA Public Assistance Grant paid for the conversion of the courts into their current setup for pickleball.

Commissioner Bill Lawhon asked whether the six courts at Chuck Morehead Park were still used for tennis. Kiser said they were in use, including by the Albemarle High School men’s and women’s squads.

The second request of the evening was made by New London Mayor Tate Daniels to offset costs for a new shelter at the town’s Memorial Park across from the former elementary school in the town, now Tarheel ChalleNGe Academy.

Daniels said the park’s existing shelters were rented 159 times from March through December of last year.

The grant money would go for a new shelter in a two-acre grassy area in the woods, Daniels said. It would have a concrete pad and electrical outlets, but no running water or restrooms.

In the commissioners’ agenda packets, a picture of a similar shelter recently built at Gray Stone Day School was included to show the type of shelter New London seeks. The shelter has a four-foot overhang and picnic tables underneath the roof.

New London, in its application, has identified general fund balance for the town to match the $10,000 county grant, along with any additional funds needed.

Vice Chairman Zack Almond said the park’s shelters “are packed out” whenever he drives past it. He said New London was “an extremely well managed town.”

After being approved, Daniels told commissioners, “you’ll be proud of what we do with (the grant).”

The last request of the evening came from Richfield Town Commissioner Barry Byrd, who asked on behalf of the town for a $10,000 matching grant to make improvements at the town’s park.

Noting people come from all over the county and beyond to Richfield Park, Byrd said the park needed upgrades and restoration.

With its five ball fields being used by North Stanly youth sports and others, the Richfield commissioner said concrete will be poured for four sets of bleachers for the fields. Currently, he said, there are not enough bleachers for the fields.

The written request submitted by the town also listed updating and repairing the restrooms along with adding hot water to the concession stand.

A roof for the concession stand and restrooms has been planned, Byrd said.

“You’ll be proud of what we do with it,” Byrd said.