Stanly commissioners approve grant funding for six parks and recreation requests

ALBEMARLE — At the Stanly County Board of Commissioners meeting on May 15, six municipalities within the county had their funding requests approved for their parks and recreation departments. 

With a 4-3 vote from the commissioners, Oakboro, Stanfield, Richfield, New London, Norwood and Badin will receive a combined $45,423 from the county to help with their overall total project costs of $158,378. 

Oakboro, Stanfield and Norwood are undergoing pickleball court transition projects, while Richfield is updating its playground equipment. Additionally, Badin is adding water, electricity and sewer functions to its park shelters, while New London is building additional wooden swings for its park.  

Chairman Scott Efird — along with Commissioners Peter Asciutto, Bill Lawhon and Trent Hatley — voted for the funding. In contrast, Vice Chairman Mike Barbee and Commissioners Patty Crump and Brandon King voted against it.  

The City of Locust requested $10,000 to help with its movie night equipment project totaling $24,235.   

Because of Efird’s involvement with the city, he recused himself from the Locust vote — which was separated from the other six municipalities — and the measure failed to pass with a 3-3 tally, as his absent yay vote made the difference. 

Although it did not pass in its first vote, Locust’s funding request will be revisited in the near future.  

“It’ll be a no for me, and it’s not because I don’t support it. It’s just not now,” Crump said of her no votes on the funding. “I would like to just say I don’t feel comfortable voting for these right now because we just got the budget, and we need to review that over the next month. And when I see in the budget that we are not fully funding the schools and there are still public safety needs, I can’t in good conscience vote for this before we’ve had the discussions.” 

In his explanation of his votes, Ascuitto pushed back against budget concerns, citing that the municipalities were counting on the county’s help with their respective projects.  

“I don’t understand why we’re having this discussion, if you don’t mind me saying,” he said. “We’ve talked about this. All these municipalities have followed the guidelines and submitted everything we did. Now, you’re putting a burden on the municipalities by saying we’re going to wait till whenever to pass it when they’re also trying to work to get their budgets done.” 

Crump responded: “It’s not waiting till whenever — it’s waiting a few more weeks so that we can discuss the budget process.” 

Next month, the board will listen to a public hearing before hashing out the county’s budget during two workshops.  

During the meeting, the commissioners also voted for re-appointments to the Stanly County Economic Development Commission with terms that expire on May 31, 2025. 

Phillip Austin (District 1), Steve Bradley (District 2), Wes Morgan (District 3), Greg Underwood (District 4) and Wil Huneycutt (District 5) all received unanimous approval to continue working in their current positions on the commission.  

The Stanly County Board of Commissioners is set to hold its next meeting on June 5 in the Gene McIntyre Room at Stanly Commons.