Black Mountain Town Council makes moves to improve parks, more

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
The Black Mountain Town Council met for a special call meeting April 19 to discuss the remaining capital funds project.

In a special call meeting April 19, the Black Mountain Town Council gave staff direction on how to budget the remaining $1,119,200 in capital project funding.

This excess funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act funds the town initially used for revenue replacement.

Town Manager Josh Harrold compiled a list with estimated costs based on council and resident input to present to the council at the meeting. He told the council he did not necessarily need an official vote by the end of the meeting, but a consensus from the council on what he and his staff should be looking to budget for.

More:Ideas for remaining Black Mountain ARPA funds: firetruck, parks, Tomahawk, garbage toters

Among items on the list were purchasing garbage and recycling toters, installing solar panels on town-owned buildings, improvements to council chambers, repairing a community garden structure, improvements to Cragmont and Lake Tomahawk parks and sidewalk improvements.

Council member Bill Christy asked Harrold if some of the items presented could be put into the regular operating budget that Harrold is currently working on for the next year. Harrold said they could be added, but the regular operating budget "will not have a whole lot of room" for added expenses.

The town sent out a survey asking residents for their ideas on what should be done with the funds, and council member Doug Hay said he wanted to make sure these opinions were being taken into consideration.

The Black Mountain Town Council directed town staff to begin working on improvements to Cragmont Park, including the basketball courts.

"I'm struck with the survey results, and also it aligns pretty well with what I'm hearing from other people as well as the park renovation improvements, supporting our parks and improving and kind of fixing up what we've already built seems to be on the top of pretty much everyone's mind," Hay said. "It seems like that is where a lot of people are encouraging us to be spending some of this money and I know I would like to see that happen."

Council member Pam King said she had her wish list but understood that not everything can be accomplished at once and that "it's all about choices."

"We've got some choices we've got to make here today," King said. "Not everything can happen today."

After going through each line item presented to them by Harrold, the council came up with a list of nearly $700,000 spent for the town manager and his staff to work on:

  • Replacing audio and video equipment in council chambers for $77,500.
  • Repairing the Grey Eagle monument for $10,000.
  • Repairing basketball courts at Cragmont Park for $65,000.
  • Repairing tennis courts at Cragmont Park for $70,000.
  • Investing in parking at Cragmont Park for $45,000.
  • Investing in restrooms at Cragmonth Park for $100,000.
  • Paving the path at Cragmont Park for $42,000.
  • Updating the Lake Tomahawk Park playground for $100,000.
  • Replacing the Lake Tomahawk Park gazebo for $20,000.
  • Repairing benches and handrails at Lake Tomahawk Park for $15,000.
  • Drainage improvements at Lake Tomahawk Park for $50,000.
  • Creating a sidewalk on Swannanoa Avenue for $30,000.
The Black Mountain Town Council directed town staff to begin working on improvements to Cragmont Park, including the tennis courts.

The council opted for heavy improvements in Cragmont Park due to what Hay called a "dire need of repair" and "a real opportunity for us to do something huge for the park."

More:Tremendous public input for parks & rec master plan; $8.5 million estimated cost

The council agreed to come back to looking at purchasing garbage and recycling toters as well as installing solar panels at a later date. Following these newest allocations, the town still has more than $400,000 left in funds.

Harrold had estimated recycling toters to cost $236,000, garbage toters to cost $342,500 and solar panels on one town-owned building to cost $200,000.

Hay closed the meeting by saying that these decisions are not final and all of the items will be discussed as they are added to the budget.

"All of this will be open for discussion as it's added to the budget," Hay said. "I just wanted to reiterate that citizens will have an opportunity to weigh in on any of this as we go through the budget process."