A grant for renovations at Riverfront Park went from uncertain to positive. The grant was awarded two years ago and will be used to improve boating recreation.
“We still have it,” said McMinnville Parks and Recreation interim director Greg Wanamaker. “I spoke to the person in charge of the grant on Wednesday and we haven’t lost it. There are a few T’s to be crossed and I’s to be dotted, but it is still there.”
The grant, given from the Wallop-Breaux Fund through Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, is for $84,500 and requires a 20 percent match of $16,900 from the city that can be made with in-kind work.
Funds can be used for new construction and for renovations that will enhance recreational boating opportunities at Riverfront Park — boat dock, boat ramp, improved parking and river bank stabilization.
“Parks and Recreation, as well has Public Works, will be doing most of the work to fulfill the in-kind match requirements,” said Wanamaker. “Some of the work we will have to bid out. As soon as we get the money, work will start.”
McMinnville officials were informed Tuesday night the grant was awarded, but it has been somewhat elusive to acquire.
“We need to get that Riverfront grant going,” said McMinnville Vice Mayor Everett Brock. “People are asking me about volleyball. It’s all torn up down there.”
Alderman Jimmy Haley added, “Do you know where they were playing volleyball the other day? They were playing on the tennis court.”
Brock says Westwood Bridge has been finished for six months and it is time to get the park back to pre-bridge-work shape.
City administrator David Rutherford says the city has had several conversations with TWRA representatives about the grant without any definite word on finally obtaining it.
“We are waiting on TWRA,” he said. “I’ve had conversations with them about it. They talk about it and ask for a contract. They want to make sure we do the 20-percent match. We’re still talking.”
Because the grant will not pay for improvements to the volleyball court, Rutherford asked McMinnville Public Works director Bill Brock if something can be done to rebuild the volleyball court.
“Yes, we can do that,” Brock said.
Wallop-Breaux Fund, also called the Sport Fish Restoration Fund, was established in 1984 and grew out of the Sport Fish Recreation Program of 1950. The fund is supported by fees and taxes on the sale of recreational fishing tackle and non-commercial motorboat fuel.
Revenues are re-allocated to the states, on a formula basis, to protect natural resources and enhance recreational fishing and boating opportunities. Since its inception, more than $2 billion has been collected and allocated.
Work on the park is tentatively set to begin this fall.