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Simpson, other Eastern NC communities receive grants for park & recreation improvements

 The small Village of Simpson, along with 40 other communities across the state, is getting a grant of over $20,000 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. PRE’s Meredith Radford has more. 

  

The Simpson Trail was created using crushed stone a couple of years ago. Because of the high maintenance costs, it’s since been overrun with weeds. Mayor Rich Zeck says they’ll use the grant to asphalt the trail above ground, so it will require very little maintenance. They’ll also be adding a paved parking lot, replacing the grass and mud area that sits at the trail entrance now.  

The Village of Simpson has a large senior population, a group impacted heavily by the isolation that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. For the community of less than 500 people, Zeck says the walking trail will be a peaceful and quiet outdoor environment, close to home.   

“What the grant does is it provides hope. It provides an opportunity for seniors, in particular, but all residents to get to something that is their community’s, not anyone else’s.”  

Zeck says small towns often can’t afford to create outdoor recreation areas because they struggle to keep up with the fundamentals.  Saving the money to do something like this would have taken years. And now, Zeck says once the money is in hand, the improved trail could be ready within a week.  

Bogue, Jacksonville and Greenville along with Beaufort and Jones Counties are also recipients of these grant funds.  

 For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.  

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