City hopes to AARP will fund proposed $150,000 project

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FARMINGTON — The city of Farmington is applying for a grant from the American Association of Retired People to transform an empty area in downtown into a pocket park.

The pocket park could provide easier access from downtown to the Bonnie Dallas Senior Center.

While the city does not always present grant applications to the City Council before applying, staff members chose to ask for council approval to strengthen the application.

When reached by text message, City Manager Rob Mayes said the pocket park project will cost about $150,000. The city is asking AARP for the entire amount in its application.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of the application during its Tuesday evening meeting. The meeting as well as a map showing the location can be viewed online at fmtn.org.

Mayor Nate Duckett asked assistant city manager Julie Baird about the ownership of the empty land at 118 E. Main St. that the city hopes to turn into a park. Baird told the council that the city owns the property, which is covered in asphalt. The plans for the park include creating areas where visitors can sit, landscaping and a path.

In addition to transforming the space into a pocket park, the city wants to work on the sidewalks leading to the nearby Bonnie Dallas Senior Center, 109 E. La Plata St., which is located across a parking lot from the proposed pocket park. The city also wants to improve access to the center for people with disabilities.

Baird said the park would have opportunities for food vendors. She described it as a “nice aesthetic area for people to come enjoy their lunches.”

“I’m in full support of this...I think it’s a great use of the space,” Duckett said during the meeting.

The grant is part of the AARP Community Challenge, which is in its second year. The AARP looks for “quick-action” projects that can be completed in a relatively short period of time. AARP awarded 88 grants in 2017.

Past grant recipients’ projects include raised garden beds in a community garden in Mobile, Alabama; installation of a safer crosswalk in Phoenix’s Maryvale neighborhood; accessory dwelling units in Santa Cruz, California, to allow senior citizens to earn rental income; installing benches, banners and bike racks in historic downtown Carlisle, Iowa; and creating the Walk Downtown outreach program in Truth or Consequences.

Hannah Grover covers government for the Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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