Parks OK with grant money allocation

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Eureka Springs Parks Commission gathered on Sept. 7 in a special meeting prior to their regular workshop to discuss matching the funds to an Arkansas Forestry Commission grant. Steve Dickie and Chris Fischer, both assisting in writing the application, went over what the full grant covered.

Applications for the grant can ask up to $24,000 with a 50/50 match required. Fischer broke use of the grant money into four components: Creating an open space assessment of Parks properties, advance the Glade Restoration project, gather ecological census data on species within the park, and promote public participation to create a volunteer base.

The use of the grant, Fischer said, would gather data on all of Parks’ systems, in and out of town, including easements and pathways, and would set up methodology for future conservation projects. In reference to the Glade Restoration Project, Dickie explained that they would establish education and research opportunities within the Glades of Lake Leatherwood City Park and develop a plan both for digital education for the public as well as using the glades as a resource for outside researchers. The scope of the grant can be completed in two years after being awarded.

Interim-Director Scott Miskiel expressed the importance of the Glade Restoration Project and said that the budget Parks had approved for 2021 already included $10,000, which would be used to fund most of the 50 percent split, saying that using it would allow them to “double down” on the amount of money available. He described this grant as a step toward larger grants and projects and that the open space assessment would be an additional component to a Parks Master Plan.

Commissioner Dave Hartmann made the motion to approve a $2,000 adjustment to the 2021 budget so the full $12,000 matching funds for the grant could be covered, with commissioner Ruth Hager seconding. Approval was unanimous.

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