MILTON, Ga. — Parks and Recreation Director Jim Cregge said building a quality park is expensive. That is why the City of Milton is seeking another grant for Providence Park as its master plan finalization looms.
At the Dec. 4 City Council meeting, the city approved a federal grant pre-application process for improvements at the park. The $200,000 Department of Natural Resources Grant, with an additional $50,000 from the city, would be used to construct a trail from the parking lot to interior sites within the park. The trail would meet guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In October, the city moved forward with a DNR grant to construct a permanent bathroom facility at the park.
Due to the expenses associated with constructing and maintaining a park, Cregge said the city is always on the lookout for applicable grants.
“The reality is there are grants and funding opportunities out there and I don’t want to do everything on the back of the taxpayers,” he said. “I want to see what opportunities exist that we can obtain and beautify the area.”
Cregge said another reason to pursue outside funding is that the park is expected to draw guests from outside Milton.
“The park will wind up being a destination and people will come from other areas to visit [Providence] like they do at Bell Memorial,” he said.
Between land acquisition, construction and other associated costs, Cregge said the Alpharetta Greenway cost about $1 million a mile. While Milton won’t need to acquire lands for Providence Park, costs will add up when the city looks to improve the trails.
Currently, the park has no ADA access, and Cregge said as a public entity, the city needs to provide reasonable access for people of all abilities. He said the overall plan for the park is to have some trails comprised of crush slate or other material suitable for wheelchair use. The city aims to make about half of the park accessible to wheelchairs like Bell Memorial.
The trails will also need addressing due to erosion.
“The slopes of the trails are quite severe,” Cregge said. “The whole idea is to have the trails run across the runoff instead of running along its contours.”
The first master plan meeting for the park was held in September to gather public input for the future look of the site. Another meeting will be held in January to unveil a plan that includes the desires resident’s shared with the city.
“As with any process, we asked the public for their input and will present them with a plan that hopefully is what they were looking for,” Cregge said.
The ADA accessible trails and bathroom will still be included in the master plan, even if the city is not awarded the funding. If Milton is chosen, the city should receive the funding around September of next year.