Aiken County Legislatures looking to give money to small town parks

Aiken County Legislatures looking to give money to small town parks

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Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 News 12 First at Five

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) — Money for a new swing set or a disk golf course, some parks are lucky like Langley Pond, others not so much.

“From what I understand it’s been a long time since we’ve had any funding at all, so it’s time that we’re due for some,” Georgette Salters said.

Salters is a council member in Monetta, where their one park hosts more than 1,100 people on Halloween, but this is their playground equipment.

“I didn’t realize it was this bad, I mean some of these swings you can’t even swing on because they don’t have any padding,” she said.

Every year the state gives a Parks and Recreation fund to the counties to distribute, it’s usually given to places with higher populations like Aiken and North Augusta.

A town like Monetta has received nothing reported since 1989 and they are not alone with other towns like Graniteville, Belvedere and others also not receiving money. Which is why legislatures like Bill Taylor are calling for a change.

“They’ve never had a chance to get these funds in any substantial amount. This is about fairness for them,” Taylor said.

Now instead of by population, the towns are given a chance to write a proposal and legislatures will give the money to where it’s needed.
And with the state putting $5 million into the fund this year, Aiken County will get more than 5 times as much funding at $157,852.

“This is an opportunity for those little towns to step up based on merit and be able to get some of that money for their projects in their areas,” Taylor said.

It’s also an opportunity for a little community pride.

“The town in itself, to be able to ride by and say oh we’ve got some really nice equipment out there for the children, it just kind of makes you feel good,” Salters said.

Legislatures are now asking the county, cities and towns to put together proposals for their review by November. While population is not a factor, legislatures do want to hear how many people a project will effect.

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