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East Arcadia Board Hears Grant Possibility To Repair Gymnasium

By Blake Proctor

Slightly delayed by inclement weather, the East Arcadia Council began its monthly meeting at 7:05 p.m. Monday when Mayor Perry Blanks gaveled the meeting to order. Following an invocation by the Mayor, the Council unanimously approved its usual two-item Consent Agenda consisting of the last meeting’s minutes and July’s Finance Report.

There were no interested individuals or groups wishing to come before the Board, so it quickly moved to Council Reports, where Roads & Streets Committee member Horace Munn reported that all the roads needing it had been bush-hogged; in a related matter, Mayor Blanks announced that the riding mower, which had been approved for purchase at a prior meeting, was on back order, but was supposed to be in later this week or early next week.

Lastly, Finance Committee Chair Lillian Graham informed the Board that the Town, through the Lumber River Council of Governments, was preparing to apply for a State grant to rehabilitate the Town’s gymnasium. The facility had been extensively damaged during Hurricane Florence, making it eligible for a no-match grant of up to $750,000.

David Richardson from the COG would be in charge of overseeing the grant’s preparation as well as its administration during the construction phase. The anticipated timing of the grant process will mean that the Town will be able to move forward probably sometime in late Spring 2021.

Pre-application engineering activities during grant preparation will determine the exact funding level, and grants under $750,000 will require no match; there will be a 10% match for amounts in excess of $750,000. Council member Munn wondered aloud if a FEMA damage assessment from Florence has been completed in the Town yet, as this could assist in the preparation of the grant, but no response was forthcoming.

A secondary intention for this rehab grant is to lay the groundwork for placing the gym on the National Register of Historic Places. This will require the gym to be brought back to its original condition and appearance, so “before” and “after” photographs of the facility showing the damage done by the hurricane will be required for the engineering phase of the grant.

There was much discussion about who might have such pictures and how to obtain them. Council member Graham also informed the Board that proof of the gym’s ownership by the Town will be required.

There being no further discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 7:33 p.m.

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