Commissioners vote to provide $39,000 to Lansing for park project

Wil Petty

March 23, 2014

The Ashe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $39,000 appropriation for a matching grant and to provide funding for a project coordinator for the expansion of the Lansing Creeper Trail Park.

“Over the course of the last 10 years, Lansing has made great strides in becoming a place for tourism and a better place to live,” Lansing mayor George Rembert said to the Board of Commissioners.

The money will provide $25,000 for matching funds to help the town with the PARTF grant from the state, while an additional $14,000 from the county will provide a salary for a part-time employee from the town to oversee the project.

Rembert, while speaking before the board praised the volunteers in Lansing, but said a paid position was needed to help guide the project.

“We have made great use of a very large volunteer base in our community,” he said. “We need someone who is focused on the project and distribute these duties.”

Rembert, who appeared before the Board on Monday, March 17, also requested for the county to expand its mowing contract for the Lansing Creeper Trail Park starting in 2015, an additional $25,000 to continue matching funds and $24,000 for two employees next year. If all requests are approved, the county would provide $89,000 for the project.

Commissioner chairman Gary Roark asked Rembert if there was a time deadline for the funds the town needed to be raised.

Rembert said Lansing has two years to raise $500,000 for the project to receive the matching funds from the state and three years to complete the project.

The Lansing mayor also mentioned the improvements the town has made in recent years.

“Through the efforts of our town government, the Greater Lansing Area Development and our partnership with the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department, Lansing is cleaner, safer and provides better health opportunities,” Rembert said.

Commissioner Judy Porter Poe said, during the commissioner comments portion of the meeting, that she supported Lansing and the park project. She said, however, future funding for the project is uncertain.

“I really hope they can get (this project) going, and the whole county can get behind it and support it. When it comes to mowing contracts and everything, we’ll have to look at that come budget time.”

In an executive session on Monday, March 10, the Lansing Board of Alderman approved proceeding with an acquisition of 36 acres along Big Horse Creek, owned by Jeff Thompson.

If all of the land acquisitions the town of Lansing studying are approved, it would make the Lansing Creeper Trail Park approximately 54 acres in size. In comparison, the Ashe County Park has 64 acres of land.

Rembert said 36 acres of the expansion are “committed.” He said the town is also seeking to acquire an additional nine acres.

The project, upon completion, will expand the walking and biking trails at the park, add 60 parking spaces, primitive campgrounds, a nine-hole disc golf course, bathhouse, a barnyard which would be used as a stage and community storage, and a second pedestrian bridge over Big Horse Creek to access other parts of the property.

The Lansing Board of Aldermen will have a special meeting on Monday, March 24, to further discuss plans for the park and handling the PARTF grant.

Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.