By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – The City took yet another step in the process toward renovating Baker Street Park by holding a second public hearing Monday night.
The first was held last November 27 when Brenda Lacy, an associate manager with the Mississippi Development Authority, explained the community development block grant process.
This latest hearing was to obtain citizen input on the grant application and to answer questions. Mary Howard, a planner with the North Central Planning and Development District, spoke to the group of about two dozen assembled in the City Hall board room.
She explained that the city is applying for a $97,779 grant that will be matched with $46,865 in-kind work including volunteer labor, materials and equipment.
“There is no cash required,” Howard emphasized. Volunteer labor is counted as matching funds.
The in-kind work is part of the Self-Help program that encourages citizen participation and is a requirement of the MDA grant process.
Howard said that the funds would be used to upgrade the parking area, put up a fence, repair or replace playground equipment and rehab the basketball courts. She added that the improvements would bring the park up to standards with the rest of the city.
The next step in the process is to present the grant application and a resolution to the board of aldermen for approval. That’s expected to happen at the next board meeting in April, Mayor Bill Norris said.
After that, MDA officials will come to Water Valley for a site visit. If the application is in order and the project approved, Howard said work could begin by the middle of June.
Levert Hawkins, a community leader who has been doing volunteer work at the park, believes the project could be completed in six months.
Baker Street Park is located in the eastern part of the city and is bordered by Baker, Lee and Mills Streets.