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October 5, 2012

County gets grant for park

CULLMAN — Sportsman Lake Park has already seen an influx of park visitors since the unveiling of recent upgrades.

But with several new features for residents to enjoy on the horizon, Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves is hoping those numbers will increase even more.

Earlier this week, Governor Robert Bentley announced a $50,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund grant to the Cullman County Commission for a 2,000 square-foot splash pad. The county will provide $50,000 in matching funds or in-kind work.

“Outdoor recreation plays an important role in a community’s quality of life,” Bentley said in a press release. “I am pleased to support further development of the park which will expand opportunities for families to spend time together outdoors.”

The splash pad will feature 10-12 water sprays that will provide a place to cool off on hot days, and will also be fully accessible to people with disabilities. Graves said the splash pad is something the commission has been working to get for some time.

“We’re trying to update things so the little ones have more to do,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of small children that come up, and school busses too. Outside of the lake and a few rides, there’s not a lot to offer, and this is something that will keep them cool and give them something to do. We thought this would be the thing the kids get the most joy out of. “

Just last week, the Cullman Park and Recreation Department received a $15,000 grant from the Cullman County Community Development Commission (CCCDC) to help with reconstruction of the middle restroom near the pavilions, which will be handicap accessible when finished. Past grant money from the organization has allowed for the two other restrooms at the park to be renovated, as well as the addition of a bath house.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff going on,” Graves said. “But we’re looking forward to it.”

If everything goes as planned, Graves said the splash pad will be ready this spring. Once that and the last bathroom is finished, he added the commission will start looking at renovating the pavilions.

*Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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