The Heflin City Council Tuesday heard the city has been awarded a grant for more than $197,000 to renovate the parking lot and add to the playground at the city’s Community Arts Center.
Mayor Rudy Rooks said the city received a letter Monday confirming the city’s award from the Community Development Block Grant program.
“Yay!” said Councilman Elvin Henson.
Henson has lobbied for the playground, which is in his district, because there are no other playgrounds in that area. The facility has been built a piece at a time with bathrooms built in 2013, a walking track built in 2014 and a small playground built in 2015.
The city applied for the money in June to enlarge the arts center’s parking lot, replace a half basketball court that would be lost when the parking lot was enlarged and expand the walking track. The money will also buy garbage cans, park benches and a ramp to reach the walking trail. At the time, the total cost of the project was estimated at about $220,000.
The city will put up approximately $22,000 of its own money to reach just about the full estimated cost of the project.
Rooks said he thought that the grant wouldn’t be approved after the state Legislature passed such austere budget for this fiscal year.
“They were not offering any money to nothing,” Rooks said. “But got a call from Sen. Dial, he told me that we got it.”
Tanya Maloney, economic developer for the city, said the work at the playground would be appreciated by the people who use the arts center.
“Gonna make a lot of dance moms happy,” Maloney said, referring to the children’s dance classes offered at the arts center.
In other business, the council members:
— Approved the purchase of blue lights and a siren from Gore Electronics and Grafix for the police department. Heflin police Chief A.J. Benefield said the money, almost $2,000, would come from funds seized by the police department during arrests.
— Approved a budget amendment to give employees a one-time pay raise on Nov. 25. Full-time employees will receive $100 and part-time employees will receive $50. The total cost of the additional payroll will be $3,562.
— Approved a $50 a month reimbursement for city department heads for use of personal cell phones for work.
— Allocated $13,462 for the purchase of equipment for the fire department’s new truck and rescue truck.
— Waived the rental fee for the Heflin Armory for a Breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 5 sponsored by the Pilot Club.
— Heard the city closed the sale of the Harris House on Ross Street.
“We got a check, got it deposited,” Rooks said. “Mr. Cobb took ownership this afternoon.”
— Heard the city was sending out bid packages for the work on the city’s baseball fields Thursday. The council will hold a special meeting on Dec. 1 at 8 a.m. to open the bids, Rooks said.
The next city council meeting will be Nov. 24 at 6 p.m.
Staff Writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872 in Heflin, 256-235-3545 in Anniston. On Twitter @LCamper_Star