Edgecomb in search of outside leisure spot to exchange deserted tennis courts

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Edgecomb is seeking to replace its former municipal tennis court as a requirement for meeting federal guidelines for a 1974 grant. As part of a grant from the Land Water Conservation Program, Edgecomb received funding to build a single tennis court on the site of the former Eddy School on Cross Point Road.

For the past three years, the city has been working with the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to find an acceptable alternative location for outdoor recreation. But it wasn’t easy to find an acceptable one.

In 2004, the city sold the former Eddy school property to Lincoln County’s Elder Care Network for $ 1. The location now known as Edgecomb Green offers affordable senior housing. The former municipal tennis court was located at the former school and was not usable for years before it was sold. “When my kids were there it was used for kickball and tennis could no longer be played,” said Selectman Mike Smith.

In 2011, a state inspection found that Edgecomb had violated the eligibility requirements. In the sale of the property, Edgecomb failed to provide the necessary public access and maintenance of the property, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

In 1974, Edgecomb received $ 5,600 federal funding to build a tennis court on 2.8 acres. And since the city has sold the property, the city cannot renovate the courtyard. The grant also prohibits Edgecomb from repaying the grant in $ 1974 or $ 2021. “We can’t just write a check. We have a duty to find a suitable replacement, ”Smith said at the board meeting on October 4th. “The regulations are pretty strict. We need to replace it with another outdoor leisure option of equal or greater value. “

One option being considered is a 13 acre donation for the creation of a new recreational trail. Selectmen plan to discuss this and other options with Schmid Preserve Chairwoman Lisa McSwain at the Selectmen meeting on October 18th.

Finding a suitable place to relax isn’t the only challenge Edgecomb faces. Federal guidelines require a Class A audit to determine if the property is of the same value as the tennis court.

“The state must inspect the site, and this assessment can cost anywhere from $ 8,000 to $ 10,000,” said Smith.

If the city cannot find a suitable replacement, it will not be eligible for future federal funding, says Beck. Chief Executive Officer Dawn Murray is in her freshman year as a Selectman. She was amazed at how complex and rigid the exchange process is. “It’s extremely frustrating,” she said. “We donated the property to the Green for a dollar to provide assisted living for our seniors. It’s not as if we made any money with it. “