CID seeks $3M in state aid for Paces Mill renovation

·2 min read

Jul. 29—CUMBERLAND — Cumberland CID board members agreed Thursday to put up $1.5 million of their own cash in the hopes of securing an even larger amount from the state for a facelift of the Paces Mill access point to the Chattahoochee River.

If approved, a state grant could give the CID an additional $3 million toward fully funding the undertaking to turn the humble boat ramp and parking lot into a more park-like space.

The CID, however, won't actually be making the appeal for funding. It'll instead come from its "sister" nonprofit, One Cumberland.

The move is one of the first by the 501(c)(3) organization, announced last year as an effort to broaden the CID's goals beyond its strictly defined purview.

While the CID will provide the money for a 50% match for the grant, it legally can't apply for the grant itself. The nonprofit will instead submit the application through the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Act (GOSA) on behalf of the CID-led project.

"It shows how important it is," CID Chairman John Shern said of the nonprofit. "Awfully good thing we have it."

Executive Director Kim Menefee told the board the nonprofit should help projects in Cumberland pull from a larger pool of grants and contributions.

"We can't rely on the traditional transportation funding sources that we do for our other transportation-related projects ... there are less funds available for the improvement of parks," she said.

Thus far, the CID has secured $1 million from congressional earmarks toward the estimated $11.8 million construction cost of the renovation. A decision on the GOSA grant, which would add $4.5 million ($1.5 million from the CID and $3 million from the state), will likely take around a year to come down.

A decision on a $6 million request from the Atlanta Regional Commission for the project is expected in the coming weeks, according to Kyethea Clark, the CID's director of planning and projects.

The ultimate goal, Menefee said, is to have all of the funds in hand by 2023 or 2024 so that construction can get underway as soon as possible.

Though he voted in favor of the funding request, the $1.5 million match for the grant request gave Braves Development Company CEO Mike Plant some heartburn. The grant only requires a local match of 25%, but the CID had opted to up their ante to 50%. Clark and Menefee argued it would help the grant's chances by showing a stronger commitment to the project.

"How many times are we coming back? ... Could we be into this thing for $5 or $6 million?" Plant asked.

"That would surprise me," chimed in Shern.

Replied Plant, "Yeah. That would surprise me, too."