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Miracle League seeking $100k grant

COVINGTON -- Miracle League of Newton County is applying for a $100,000 grant in hopes of getting more financial assistance to build a baseball field for special needs children.

The City Council agreed at its Feb. 20 meeting to apply for the grant on the Miracle League's behalf, as the city owns the property at City Pond Park where the field will be built and will lease it to the county, according to the city's grant writer, Randy Conner.

The grant requires a 50 percent match that the non-profit Miracle League of Newton County has agreed to fund. The Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant is through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The total project will cost an estimated $2.6 million. The Georgia Department of Corrections has agreed to supply inmate labor, which will save between $600,000 and $800,000, Conner said.

The City Council recently agreed to lend the non-profit $1.5 million in an effort to expedite the project.

The $1.5 million was allocated through SPLOST 2011, but because county commissioners opted not to bond any projects, construction cannot begin until the money is in hand. With funds for the Miracle field coming in at around $20,000 a month, if projections hold true, that could mean it will be near the end of the six-year SPLOST before construction could begin.

In other news, the City Council approved a bid by Alcovy Surveying and Engineering Inc. for $29,470 to conduct engineering needed for a project that will replace water lines along Puckett Street and adjacent streets. The approval of the engineering bid is needed in preparation for the city to apply for a Community Development Block Grant for the project.

Finally, City Manager Steve Horton said Requests for Proposals for the municipal court judge position have been sent out locally as well as through the bar association. Proposals will be accepted through the end of March. Horton recommended that a committee be formed to weed through the applications and narrow them down before bringing them before the City Council.