It had been a major initiative for former Apalachicola Mayor Kevin Begos, to see Community Redevelopment Agency monies spent on infrastructure projects on the Hill.
And while he didn’t live to see it, the CRA’s decided last month to channel thousands towards a list of projects championed by the late mayor.
At a July 28 meeting, under the direction of Mayor Brenda Ash, the five city commissioners, along with at-large members Leslie Wallace-Coon and Jeff Lockley, voted to divvy up monies, including about $80,000 to be spent on expanding the existing Sixth Street restrooms, putting in a concrete foundation under the pavilion, and buying new playground equipment, grills, a privacy net for the tennis courts, basketball backboards, picnic tables and a drinking fountain, on Franklin Square.
Because the repair of the roof at the Holy Family Senior Center had been denied FEMA monies, in part because repairs had not been completed using earlier monies, the CRA decided to spend about $65,000 to repair it, funding it in conjunction with the city using an equivalent amount of its general revenue funds to ensure the entire roof can be mended.
“It’s the jewel of the Hill, it’s an asset worth preserving,” said Commissioner Despina George.
“It’s the quintessential landmark of the Hill,” said Commissioner Tami-Ray Hutchinson. “It gets the most use and it’s esteemed as a place of history and value.”.
Lockley pushed hard for the spending of about $150,000 towards the restoration and redevelopment of Sylvester Williams Park, which borders the CRA but is technically not within the district. The money would go to restore the fields, to add clay to level the fields and restripe them, to purchase playground equipment and install a pavilion, benches and a water fountain.
The CRA decided to hold off on earmarking those monies, to see whether the park could be the beneficiary of the funds, and to look into other possible grant sources.
Commissioner Adriane Elliott pushed for earmarking monies in pursuit of creating workforce housing. Her motion to allot about $9,000 to fund a feasibility study and soil testing on selected properties on Fifth Street, including the old Pump House, died for lack of a second.
Because Ash is now mayor, she announced her resignation as CRA chair, and the board voted to elect Lockley the chairman. Commissioner Anita Grove was elected as vice-chair to replace Lockley.