$142,500 state matching grant awarded for Legion Hall work
The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced Monday that Blowing Rock is the recipient of a $142,500 matching grant that may be used to renovate and enhance the building, located off Wallingford Street behind Memorial Park.
The town took control of the roughly 60-year-old building last year at the request of the American Legion after a laundry list of needed repairs became too much for the organization to bear.
While the Legion post leased the building, it also was used by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce during Art in the Park, Boy Scouts, the Blowing Rock Historical Society and other groups.
The building will be used as a community center with multipurpose room, fitness room and outdoor picnic area, according to a memo from the town in January. If the grant is accepted and the matching funds provided, the building will receive a new roof and gutters, cultured stone on the front, a fresh coat of paint and a wheelchair-accessible entrance.
The grant also will provide for a 12-foot deck across half of the back of the building, along with a picnic area overlooking Broyhill Lake, the memo said.
Inside, the building will receive new finishes, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, air conditioning, new windows and plumbing and structural improvements.
The Blowing Rock Town Council must vote at a future meeting on whether to accept the grant and provide the matching $142,500, Town Manager Scott Hildebran said. In its application, the town said it expected to provide the match from capital reserve funds and community contributions.
The town will have 45 days after it receives the official notification of the grant to decide how to proceed, Hildebran said. Grant recipients must complete their projects in three years or less.
The town applied for the grant last winter and was one of only six projects statewide to receive funding this grant cycle from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
The money comes in part from the state’s share of real estate deed transfer taxes from properties sold in North Carolina.
The other local governments receiving grants were Bladenboro, Jamestown, LaGrange, Rhodhiss and Swain County, and the grants totaled $1.2 million.
“Local parks and recreation facilities are one of the leading reasons North Carolina is consistently ranked one of the most attractive states in the nation for new and emerging businesses,” Gov. Bev Perdue said in a news release. “These facilities not only make North Carolina a place people want to be, they help our citizens lead healthier lives and enhance our overall quality of life.”