The LaGrange County Commissioners conducted two public hearings Monday to receive information and public comments on two grant applications.
The larger of the two was for a grant that the LaGrange Communities Youth Center (LCYC) is applying for to construct a building at the Spreuer Community Park, located northeast of the North Pointe Plaza in LaGrange.
The LCYC grant is for the maximum amount of $400,000 from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). The estimated cost for the 7,560 sq. ft. building is $955,743. The LCYC is still working to come up with the $550,000 remaining after the grant.
The LaGrange County Commissioners pledged $50,000 from the county’s Riverboat Gambling Fund for matching funds to go toward the competitive grant. Christine Christlieb told the commissioners that the large matching fund amount will help with the scoring on the grant application.
The one-story building is proposed to hold the LCYC and its activities, as well as space that will be rented and utilized by the LaGrange County Council on Aging (COA). COA Director Cheri Perkins thanked the LCYC for being very “open to the layout to meet our needs.” She noted that the agency’s current location does not afford privacy for office phone conversations and limits the COA on what activities they can do.
Commissioner George Bachman questioned the group on being able to maintain the building if it is built. It was noted that it would require $40,000 to $60,000 per year for maintenance and upkeep, which would include labor. Phil Malone told the commissioners that the group is looking for more revenue opportunities, including more renters.
Detective Don Faust from the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department, who also serves on the LCYC Board, told the commissioners that center is needed in the community for youth. “It will provide a place for youth to go and better themselves,” he said.
“I can’t think of a better project,” Bachman commented during the hearing.
Commissioners Larry Miller and Garry Heller echoed Bachman’s feelings. “If we don’t provide a place for them (youth) to go, it’s as much our fault as theirs,” Miller said, referring to youth that get into trouble.
The other public hearing was for a five-year master park plan grant, for a maximum of $50,000, with $4,000 in local matching funds. The grant is also through OCRA.
Parks Director Mike Metz told the commissioners that the department needs a five-year master plan to be eligible for state grants.
Previously, the master plan was done in-house by the parks department, but the stipend money for the work was taken out of the department’s budget, it was noted.
Metzadded that he felt it would be good to have an outside firm look at the park’s master plan to give them a different point of view.
It was noted that the grant for the park should be awarded sometime in May.