NASHVILLE -- Marshall County is included in a series of state grants announced Wednesday.
Construction of a pavilion at Berlin Springs will be funded with a $110,000 grant announced by Gov. Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke.
The money is among more than $3.5 million in Local Parks and Recreation Fund grants being distributed across Tennessee. Grant recipients were selected through a scoring process with consideration given to projects meeting criteria and fulfilling the greatest local recreation need.
"We tried once before and failed," County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett said Wednesday evening. "We were able to reapply and it was accepted. We're thankful."
The pavilion is planned at the historic spring where politicians great and forgotten spoke on a rock overlooking the mouth of a spring cave and stream.
"It will be an enhancement to the park and for the community," Liggett said. "It will probably draw more attention to the spring and people will be able to use it for various purposes.
Berlin Fire Chief Joe Greer, who's also a preacher offered some examples of how the pavilion may be used.
"There are a lot of people who use the springs for weddings and there is always the threat of inclement weather so this will be of help that way," Greer said. "A pavilion at the springs could be a real asset when the fire department is doing a fundraiser. Rain has always been a threat, so this will be a real blessing."
Greer credited Liggett for landing the grant.
"He's the one who really spear headed this," Greer said. "We would not have known anything about a grant for this. He was rummaging around for grants and came to us about it, saying this might work. We had mentioned having a pavilion would be nice ... to have a roof over our heads."
"Land was donated to us and then we, in turn, donated it to the county," Greer said. "Our community committee had to accept the responsibility of maintaining the property. It had to go to the county commission" for acceptance.
State Rep. Eddie Bass was also pleased the grant will provide a facility for the Berlin Community.
"Tennesseans' quality of life is directly linked to the quality of their parks and outdoor spaces," Bass said. "I'm pleased these grants will help improve the quality of our recreational spaces in Marshall County and across the state of Tennessee."
Marshall County's grant was one of 50 announced this week.
"These grants will enhance and expand outstanding recreational projects like parks, community centers, ballfields and playgrounds," Bredesen said.
The Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant program was established by the General Assembly in 1991 to provide local governments with funds to purchase land for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities. The funds also may be used for development of trails and projects in parks, natural areas and greenways. All these grants require a 50 percent match by the recipient. The governor proposed, and the General Assembly approved re-establishing this grant program in the current budget using a portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax.
"These investments in our local communities help improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans," said Fyke. "This round of awards will fund exciting projects across the state. From land acquisitions for new municipal parks, to renovating and improving existing facilities, LPRF grants help expand recreational opportunities for Tennessee citizens."