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HILLSVILLE — Carroll officials hope that a state grant will put the county on the path to creating the George Lafayette Cater Educational Park and Recreational Trail.
The Carroll Board of Supervisors at their Jan. 13 meeting approved a resolution supporting a grant application for the park and trail.
Referring to Carroll's own mining and railroad magnate, the grant application to the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation seeks to create a multi-use trail on the property where the Carter homeplace once stood and Hillsville Elementary School stands now.
(Only a chimney remains of the home where George L. Carter grew up.)
Access to recreational facilities would assist in providing community members places for exercise and activity and a place for students to learn.
"This ... would provide a system of trails throughout the school property that would provide citizens of the community access to a safe place to walk and bike," the resolution of support said.
Staff wrote that approving the resolution would have zero impact on the county budget. The supervisors approved this resolution without further discussion.
Bob Martin of the Carroll County Public Schools wrote the preliminary grant application.
Approval of the preliminary application will allow Carroll to compete for grants ranging from $20,000 to $100,000, Martin said after the meeting.
Many improvements are planned on the 93-acre site where the Carroll County Schools Farm has already been developed.
The idea for the name came about because the application requires a project name be submitted.
The Carter park and trail would be developed alongside the farm and forest, the school, the remains of the home and a trail planned as part of the streambank mitigation required for the U.S. 58 bypass road construction, he explained.
"A trail would tie the whole thing together and make it more usable," Martin told The Gazette. "I could really see something being done, such as a historic designation down the road."
Carroll officials should find out of the preliminary application has been successful in February.
Educators have many plans for the school property. Martin has already obtained a $15,000 reforestation grant to reintroduce trees and timber products to a clearing on the top of the hill — and that may include plantings of the disease-resistant chestnut tree that's been developed recently.
A trail is already planned as a part of the streambank mitigation and the reforestation project, but getting the DCR grant would allow county officials to create a trail that's three miles long and winds around all parts of the school grounds.
The grant would require a local match, and Martin says he has lined that up as in-kind work from local construction companies.
It's an ambitious project, Martin noted.
He's applied for this grant before and didn't get it, but he's holding out hope. "One day, it will all come together," he said.
"This would give another outlet for folks to enjoy stretching their legs," Supervisors' Chairman Tom Littrell told The Gazette after the meeting. "Any project that enhances recreational opportunities in Carroll is good."