City provides additional funding for park project

Published 8:40 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

The P.S. Jones Memorial Park project is getting $5,000 more in city money.

During its July 9 meeting, the Washington City Council voted 4-1 to provide the extra funding to help the P.S. Jones Alumni Association finish the current phase of the project, including erecting fencing around the property, located at the former P.S. Jones High School site. Council members William Pitt, Virginia Finnerty, Richard Brooks and Roland Wyman voted to provide the money. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against allocating the funds.

Alumni Wali Saleem and James Smallwood made the association’s case to the council. They told the council that having to change the location of the bathrooms at the park required the site plan to be redrawn at the cost of $5,000.

According to a memorandum from Michele Oros, director of grants and development for Beaufort County Schools, to city officials, “It was believed that the City would reimburse the grant for this unanticipated expense but this had not occurred. The Alumni would like to ask the City Council to reimburse the grant for this expense,” reads the memorandum. To realize the lowest contractor’s bid on the project, several items originally included in the project were deleted, according to the memorandum. Those items included, but were not limited to, a water fountain, programmable locks and a heating unit for the restrooms.

Saleem and Smallwood told the council some of those items were later added to the bathrooms. “What we are asking for is that the city come up with the funds that we were over budgeted for that we might complete the project with the funds that we have,” Saleem said.

In April 2017, the council approved building a restroom facility at P.S. Jones Memorial Park at a cost of $56,100. The city had budgeted $50,000 for the project. The city found $6,100 to add to the project’s budget.

Mercer said he did not see the need for the city to provide another $5,000 toward the project, saying the city initially committed $50,000 to the project and later provided $6,100 more to allow the association to build the bathrooms it preferred. “My concern is two-fold. When this grant was originally written, the city made a commitment to put $50,000 in a bathroom. We made that commitment so you could get the grant that you got. At this point in time, we’ve built the bathroom. In fact, we put $57,000, I think, in the bathroom because the design we had originally, the alumni association preferred a different design,” Mercer said. “You came and asked us to put that extra money in there, are we agreed to do that. So, we’ve put $7,000 more than we originally committed to do in that bathroom.”

The Kate B. Reynolds Foundation gave Beaufort County Schools $145,000 to build a playground and shelter at P.S. Jones Memorial Park. A previously awarded $55,000 grant from the trust has been earmarked to pay for a concrete walking trail around the park property. The city committed to building restroom facilities that would serve P.S. Jones Memorial Park and the adjacent Beebe Memorial Park.

P.S. Jones Memorial Park is named for Peter Simon Jones, a Washington educator and for whom the former P.S. Jones High School was named. Jones served at the school from 1927 to 1949. Washington Colored High School’s name was changed in 1950 to honor Jones, former principal of the school.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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