City playground extra janky; City Council assessing their options


The swing sets are so rusted that you can literally hear them from a block away.

Meanwhile, there are several unsecure rails, missing pieces to equipment, as well as plenty of rusted metal. These were some of the issues observed by Baldwin2K news during a recent walk around the playground at Central City/Bonner Park.

City Hall is very much aware of the issues around the playground, first erected roughly 25 years ago. City Manager Hank Griffeth and Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan announced this spring that the plan was to fund brand-new playground equipment utilizing "some funds from a previous SPLOST." City leaders hoped to have the project completed at some point by the end of this year, they added.

That never happened, however, and instead City Hall decided to call a last-minute audible. To sum it up, City leaders would rather use outside grant money to pay for the playground, as opposed to using SPLOST money, American Rescue Plan Act money or money from the general fund. 

Griffeth first applied for a Rural Downtown Redevelopment Grant through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

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After a few months of waiting, the winning communities were announced, and Milledgeville wasn't one of them.

"Unfortunately, we were not successful in that application," Griffeth said.

After that, City leaders regrouped and proposed $500,000 in Rescue Plan Act money to fund the new playground, as well as several other initiatives around the park. Rescue Act money came from the federal government in the wake of the pandemic. All totaled, Milledgeville was awarded with just a hair under $7 million.

Griffeth then became aware of another grant opportunity earlier this month, and the plan to use Rescue Act money for the playground was put on pause. This time, it's theNeighborhood Outcomes in Disproportionally Impacted Communities Grant, which comes out of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. The winning communities are expected to be announced around January 2023, according to Griffeth.

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