City awarded grant for its Festival Park

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, May 13, 2010

Contributing Editor

Washington has been awarded grant to help develop Festival Park, the open space along the Pamlico River between the N.C. Estuarium and the former Maola building on Water Street.
The city will receive $295,000 from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
“Last Friday, I’m happy to tell you, that grant was approved,” Joe Taylor, a representative of the Washington Harbor District Alliance, told the City Council at its meeting Monday. “We’re excited about moving forward.”
Taylor said the team that worked on the grant application is prepared to do what it takes to bring the project to fruition.
The grant award is the culmination of an effort by several Washington residents, organizations and city departments, Taylor noted.
“This is great news,” said Mayor Archie Jennings. “I could not be more proud of this community at this moment.”
Jennings said he is pleased that different segments of the community put aside their differences and worked for the good of the city and its residents.
By accepting the grant, the city must provide a like amount of funding for the project. That would provide nearly $600,000 to help pay for some Festival Park components. Under terms of the grant, project construction must be completed within three years.
The city’s draft capital-improvements plan includes $600,000 for the Festival Park project. In January, the council added the Festival Park master plan to the city’s parks and recreation master plan.
That master plan calls for a performance venue, public restrooms, a children’s play area, picnic shelter and benches, among other things. Susan Suggs, who helped develop the master plan, believes Festival Park will be a complementary addition to the city’s waterfront.
Several private groups have said they are willing to help pay for Festival Park amenities, possibly allowing the city to decrease its obligation toward the project.
City officials believe Festival Park will support live performances, provide open space where people may relax, create play areas for children and provide opportunities for access to the Pamlico River.