New Albany, Miss., September 2020
Revitalizing and improving New Albany’s city park system has become a top priority for the the city’s Community Development office. Grants from private sources have financed many of the improvements made thus far.
Speaking of a grant that will be spent on improvements of Northside Park, Community Development Director Billye Jean Stroud said, “This is fabulous news about of the Kaboom Grant for the Northside Park. Most people do not realize that revitalizing our entire park system has been the number one project on our plate since 2019.
“We have been working not only with Bob Barber and the Orion group with a comprehensive plan that includes all our parks; making them functioning as a cohesive system throughout our downtown area, but we have also been working on the federal level with the National Park Service to do the same”, Stroud said.
Tracy Vainisi, Stroud’s assistant and writer of the grant commented at how excited she was when she received the phone call from the KaBoom representative. “I really enjoy the grant writing process. There are so many good reasons for parks. Community engagement, wellness, and safe gathering spaces for families are what makes our town so wonderful. Parks promote all of these ideas and are needed throughout the city.”
This will be the third grant written by Vainisi that has allowed the park system revitalization project to start. The first one was awarded by Toyota for new playground equipment at Central Park and the Community Center.
The new equipment has been delivered at the park on Central Avenue and the Parks Department is in the process of placing it on site. The Kaboom Grant goes to Alabama Street Park on the city’s north side.
The third grant is being used to envision the Tallahatchie River as a functioning recreational water source. This will be a tourism game changer for this community. The National Park Service Grant, Conservation and Recreation on the Little Tallahatchie, will be funded through March 2022 for technical and resource assistance in park and river development.
“Parks are a tangible reflection of the quality of life in a community. They provide identity for citizens and are a major factor in the perception of quality of life in a given community. Parks and recreation services are often cited as one of the most important factors in surveys of how livable communities are,” said Stroud.
Vainisi added, “Playground equipment and required safety surfacing are both high dollar items. Alderman Johnny Anderson helped us secure the $10,000 grant match through the tourism budget. Fundraisers, donations, and volunteers will play a large part in the final park design.”
Anyone who wants to be a part of the KaBoom Community Playground build, can call the Main Street office at 662-534-3438 or email Tracy Vainisi directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.