Grant funds to initiate Cumberland Gap Commons project

Published 12:18 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

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The historic town of Cumberland Gap can now move forward with its first phase to develop the Cumberland Gap Commons via some $250,000 in recreation grant funds. The money comes from a Tennessee Dept. of Environment & Conservation grant totaling $6.37 million awarded to communities throughout the state from the Local Parks & Recreation Fund Program and the Land & Water Conservation Fund.

Some $448,000 in grants from the Recreation Trails Program is also being awarded by the state.

“Local leaders need resources to provide recreational activities for their communities, and this is a way to help make it happen,” said TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson. “We are pleased to announce these grants and look forward to the recreation projects that result from this assistance.”

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Phase I will include the acquisition of approximately 1.4 acres of land along olwyn Avenue. Parking, using gravel at a minimum, will include paved Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) spaces and a ramp along with bathrooms and a walkway.

Senate Republican Frank Niceley says he is very happy the grant was awarded to establish a new park in the Gap.

“The new outdoor space will be a fantastic venue for residents to gather and recreate, and will bring a beneficial financial impact by inviting visitors to the community. I look forward to seeing the project take shape.”

State representative Jerry Sexton agrees.

“Outdoor spaces and recreational facilities have always been an important part of any community because they provide opportunities that encourage healthy, active lifestyles and stimulate economic benefits by inviting visitors to our communities. They also provide places for people to gather and interact as a community. This proved to be especially important during the pandemic when the only way to gather in groups was to do so outside. I was proud to support Cumberland Gap’s application and congratulate Mayor Pucciarelli, the Board of Aldermen and the other local leaders who were instrumental in helping to secure these funds. Their hard work will continue to benefit the citizens of Cumberland Gap for years to come.”

The Local Parks & Recreation Fund program provides state money for the purchase of land for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities. LPRF funds also may be used for trail development and capital projects in parks, natural areas and greenways.

The Land & Water Conservation Fund program provides grants to states so that they may administer to state and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. The grants require a 50 percent match.

The Recreation Trails Program is a federally funded, state administered program providing funds for land acquisition for trails, their maintenance, construction, rehabilitation and trail head support facilities. These grants are distributed in the form of an 80 percent grant with a 20 percent match.