Governor awards $96K grant to Minooka Park

Published 3:57 pm Friday, February 21, 2014

Gov. Robert Bentley awarded a $96,000 grant to Minooka Park on Wednesday.

The grant will enable the park to expand and offer a broader range of accommodations for off-road motor vehicles and other trail-related activities.

Minooka Park plans to use the grant to purchase 40 acres adjacent to its existing 300-acre park near Jemison. The expansion will enable the county-owned park to provide more trails, including some designed for beginners and younger riders of off-road vehicles.

“Outdoor recreation facilities encourage Alabamians to step away from the television or computer screen and enjoy activities that involve the entire family,” Bentley said in a release. “I am pleased to announce this award.”

Park planners said the purchase makes a beginner track possible because it includes property that is flat, unlike the rolling and hilly terrain that characterizes most of the existing park.

Minooka Park Manager Gerald Arrington said he applied for the grant in 2013.

“This grant will allow us to have some beginner trails,” Arrington said. “The new trails are mainly designed for that child who just got his first dirt bike to be able to come and ride. We are limited here on that and we have run out of space to put new trails in.”

Arrington said many families visit the park with children and the grant will allow trails to offer them.

“We have advanced and intermediate trails but this will allow us to have trails for the whole family,” Arrington said.

Still under development, Minooka Park opened in March 2007 offering trails for all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles and at separate times, horseback riding.

Hiking is also allowed in some areas.

The park includes a lake and areas for primitive and recreational vehicle camping.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is administering the recreational trails grant from funds made available to the state by the Federal Highway Administration.

The program funds trails and related amenities for walking and hiking, bicycling, boating and paddling, horseback riding and other activities.

Local governments and non-profit groups that receive recreational trails grants are required to supply support equal to at least 20 percent of the grant.

Bentley notified Chilton County Commission Chairman Allen Caton that the grant had been approved.