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Armfield Center gets half million dollar state grant

This week Gov. Roy Cooper announced $8.5 million in grants that will be distributed to 19 local parks and recreation projects across the state through the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) and Armfield Civic Center in Pilot Mountain was one of the recipients.

The local facility’s application was approved from among the 52 applications received which totaled more than $21 million in grant request funding.

“These grants will help towns and counties to provide recreation for their communities,” Cooper said. “These investments can help revitalize our communities, boost local economies and promote tourism.”

Armfield received a half million dollars which is the largest grant possible from the PARTF allotment for a single project and the awardees are required to fully match the funds.

Pilot Mountain Town Manager Michael Boaz said, “The $500,000 grant will be used for rehabilitation of the Armfield Civic and Recreation Center. This includes rehab of the gym floor, indoor walking track, indoor Junior Olympic size swimming pool.”

In what will be an exciting announcement for some of the fans of the latest hot trend in recreation: pickleball is coming. “In addition, the money will help to add pickle ball courts, a corn hole area, make repairs to the outdoor walking track, and various other landscaping type issues,” he said.

Boaz said he expects the PARTF money to be in the town’s coffers by November or December and that the town has three years in which to spend the grant money which Pilot Mountain is matching dollar for dollar.

One of the selling points of Armfield is that it does more than just serve the population that lives in the town. Boaz reminded, “The Armfield Center provides recreational opportunities for both residents of the Town of Pilot Mountain and the surrounding community. We run youth soccer and basketball leagues at the center, serve as home pool for seven county schools, and serve as the home for the PAC swim team. In addition, East Surry Little League plays their home games at our facility.”

It is more than fun and games for the kids, Boaz said. “Armfield is home to the Pilot Mountain Senior Center which is a partnership with YVEDDI. All that to say that our center is an extremely important asset for the community that helps to keep all local residents, regardless of age, active and healthy. These grant funds will help the Pilot Mountain to continue that mission.”

In the Northwest part of the state other grant winners were Wilkes County which received $475,000 for the Roaring River Park & River Access and Paddy Mountain Park in Ashe County was granted $500,000.

The Trust Fund has made several grants to area projects in years past, including $350,000 to Mount Airy for the Granite City Greenway connector in 2021 and $250,000 in 2016 for the Ararat River Greenway Connector. Dobson Square Park, Fisher River Park, as well as parks in Shoals, Mountain Park, and Pilot Mountain, have all gotten grant funding.

With the new grant for Armfield included Trust Fund grants in Surry County since the year 2000 have totaled $4.49 million dollars and have been matched with $4.7 million so far. Pilot Mountain’s match for the latest grant has not been reported yet in the most recent NC Parks data.

“Getting outdoors to enjoy parks and green spaces improves people’s health and quality of life, and these grants will help towns and counties to provide recreation for their communities,” Gov. Cooper said. “These investments can help revitalize our communities, boost local economies and promote tourism.”

Local communities applied for the grants to fund land acquisition, development and renovation of public park and recreation areas according to NC Parks. The PARTF is funded annually from an appropriation from the General Assembly and thirty percent of the funds are set aside for local projects such as Armfield. Nearly two-thirds of the funds are declared for use at state parks and five percent is set aside for the coastal and estuary protection.

“Since 1995, the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund has helped give local governments the ability to build new parks and improve facilities,” said Brian Strong, the newly appointed director of the Division of Parks and Recreation. “These investments have a widespread impact in creating more places to conserve, to recreate, and to learn about nature and the outdoors.”

NC Parks said communities have benefited from this grant program because the proposals that come to the committee are ranked. That ranking system encourages better planning with public involvement in scoring the grant proposals to see which will be approved. In theory, a community more engaged in the planning of a project is more likely to use and enjoy it upon completion.

Also considered are the quality of the site with respect to its surroundings, whether the land is held or needs to be acquired, and if the applicant will be able to operate and maintain the park project.

“The citizens of North Carolina and their visitors to the state have certainly enjoyed new amenities made possible by the PARTF program,” NC Parks wrote. Through July 30, 2022, the PARTF has awarded 993 parks grants which when paired with local matches have yielded a whopping $745 million in parks projects.



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