Mint Hill officials applying for N.C. grant to buy parkland
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Saturday, Feb. 01, 2014

Mint Hill officials applying for N.C. grant to buy parkland

Mint Hill officials are applying for a North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant in hopes of purchasing additional parkland.

If the grant is approved, the town would receive $335,000 in PARTF grant funding. That money, along with the required $335,000 matching funds from the town, would be used to purchase 27.5 acres at 9801 Brief Road.

The land is directly across from the Mint Hill Athletic Association complex and could be used for additional athletic fields, though Mint Hill Deputy Town Manager Lee Bailey said town officials haven’t yet determined how the new park would be configured.

“There is significant land area there for ball fields, sports and other recreational activities, but we don’t know yet what it is going to be. If we get the money and the land, then we will plan it,” Bailey said.

A number of residents spoke in support of the grant recently, telling commissioners that the new park was desperately needed to support the growing athletic programs in Mint Hill.

“We’re busting at the seams. There’s a tremendous need, not just for us but for other groups in the town,” said MHAA President Don McDaniel.

McDaniel says his organization has more than 1,200 members, many of whom play multiple sports.

Local American Legion baseball officials say they have more than 300 athletes on their rosters, with potential for growth if there was more space.

Sandy Barnett, a lacrosse booster, says additional fields are needed to support the growing sport.

Bailey says PARTF grant recipients should be announced in July.

Meanwhile, Mint Hill commissioners have entered into a contract with James and Helen Black, owner of the Brief Road property, to purchase the land for $670,000, contingent upon receiving the PARTF funding.

If that grant is approved and the land purchased, Bailey said, officials hope to apply for another grant for park construction.

This would be the town’s third park. Mint Hill owns the 15-acre Mint Hill Park on Wilgrove that features several tennis courts, a softball field, walking trail and playground equipment, as well as the 50-acre Mint Hill Veterans Park on N.C. 218 that offers a paved track, several soccer fields, a nature trail, tennis courts, sand volleyball court, nature trail and nine-hole disc golf course.

Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Department owns land on Well Road off N.C. 51 designated for a county park that is in the planning stage.

Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at m.johnston@carolina.rr.com.

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