The $20,000 “Village Renaissance” grant will pay for the planning stage of a neighborhood revitalization program.
Pickens City Administrator Katherine Brackett said the grant funds will allow the city to make improvements to a low to moderate income neighborhood in the central to southern portion of the city.
Officials hope to make improvements from beginning at Cedar Rock Road then south to the hospital.
“We have to decide what we want to do,” she said. “Do you want to do sidewalks and lights, do you want to do paving, do you want to do drainage?”
The grant could pay for streetlights and possibly demolition of dilapidated homes that are attracting criminal elements, Brackett said.
Once the plans are assembled, the city could be in the running for two $500,000 grants to further the program, Brackett said.
“It’s upwards of one million dollars of improvements in grant funds that’ll be put into the southern portion of the city,” she said. “It’s really good news.”
The grants, if awarded, would require a 20 percent match from the city. The $20,000 grant requires a 20 percent match as well.
Brackett said she believed the city was one of only two cities selected to receive Village Renaissance funds this year.
“It’s exciting,” she said.
Councilman Patrick Lark asked if citizen input would be garnered on the project.
Brackett said that the city would seek citizen input and that she hoped any community input sessions would attract large numbers of residents.
In other news, council remains hopeful that deal can be reached with the school district allowing the city to lease or purchase Bruce Field, so that the stadium and field can be used by the community.
Superintendent Henry Hunt will ask the board about what price they would like to lease out the property or sell the property outright, Brackett said.
Rec Director Cheri Anthony said she had a lot of ideas on how Bruce Field could be utilized for the community.
“I’d love to have it,” she said. “I can see a lot happening there.”
Mayor David Owens said acquiring the field would be a real asset for the community.
In other news, the Pickens Christmas Parade is 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Brackett said the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree will take place in Legacy Square after the parade and its award ceremony.
This year’s tree was donated by Starcrest Christmas Tree Farm and was decorated with ribbons donated by Shelia Barton of Town and Country Florist.
Owens said that sidewalk replacement work on one side of Main St. is slated to be completed in time for the parade.