Edgecomb is looking to replace its old municipal tennis court in order to meet federal guidelines on a 1974 grant. Under a grant from the Land Water Conservation Program, Edgecomb received funds to build a single tennis court on the site. of the old Eddy School on Cross Point Road.
For the past three years, the city has worked with the state’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry to find another acceptable outdoor recreation location. But finding an acceptable one was not easy.
In 2004, the city sold the former Eddy School property for $ 1 to Lincoln County’s Elder Care Network. The location now known as Edgecomb Green offers affordable senior housing. The old municipal tennis court was in the old school and was not in use for years before the sale. “When my kids were there it was used for kickball and tennis couldn’t be played anymore,” Selectman Mike Smith said.
In 2011, a state inspection determined that Edgecomb had violated the terms of the grant. By selling the property, Edgecomb failed to provide the public access and maintenance of the property required, according to the State Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
In 1974, Edgecomb received $ 5,600 in federal funds to build a tennis court on 2.8 acres. And since the city has ceded the property, the city cannot renovate the yard. The grant also prohibits Edgecomb from repaying the grant, in 1974 or 2021 dollars. “We can’t just straighten a check. We are compelled to find a suitable replacement, ”Smith said at the October 4 board meeting. “The regulations are quite strict. We need to replace it with another outdoor recreational option of equal or greater value.
One option being considered is a 13-acre donation for the creation of a new recreational trail. Selectmen plans to discuss this option and others with Schmid Preserve President Lisa McSwain at the Selectmen meeting on October 18.
Finding a suitable recreational location isn’t the only challenge Edgecomb faces. Federal guidelines require a “Class A” audit to determine if the property is of equal value to that of the tennis court.
“The state has to inspect the site and this assessment can cost anywhere from $ 8,000 to $ 10,000,” Smith said.
If the city fails to find a suitable replacement, it would not be eligible for future federal grants, according to Beck. Board Chair Dawn Murray is in her first year as a Selection Man. She was amazed at the complexity and rigidity of the replacement process. “It’s extremely frustrating,” she says. “We gave the property to the Greens for a dollar to provide an assisted living for our seniors. It’s not like we made any money out of it.