Rocky Mount announced last week that one of the city’s most popular parks is about to get an upgrade. The city received a $500,000 matching grant from the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Sunset Park was the highest scoring project in the state out of 52 projects.
Joel Dunn, Director of Parks and Recreation, credited extensive community input through multiple meetings along with the strong grant developed by the staff as the reason for the application’s success.
Once the department ensures grant funds are spent in accordance with appropriate laws and that tax dollars are spent effectively and efficiently, the city will begin to receive bids from contractors to begin the renovation process. Dunn expects renovations will begin this winter, and it is their goal to complete all renovations within two years.
Top priorities in the renovation process include a replacement train, which is one of the park’s most popular features, according to Dunn. There are also plans for a replacement playground. Other plans in the renovation project include re-paving the greenway, tennis court renovation, and enhancements to water access, but those must be completed during specific months due to weather patterns.
Last week’s press release also mentioned a carousel replacement, updates to the spray park and park security cameras.
In addition to the PARTF grant, Dunn shared that the city hopes to receive good news regarding another grant application that would assist with the Sunset Park Renovation project.
Dunn also encouraged residents to visit Battle Park, which just underwent $1.2 million in renovations. 98% of those funds were grants. Visitors to Battle Park can enjoy the walking trails, the paddle trail, or the new mountain bike trail.
The department also has several special events in the coming months, including this weekend’s End of Summer Celebration, the Down East Viking Football Classic on September 9, and the Eastern North Carolina BBQ Throw Down on October 13-14.
Toward the end of the year, there will be holiday events such as the lighting of City Lake, the Christmas Parade, Winter Wonderland at the Imperial Centre, and much more.