Friday, 13 December 2019 14:54

Hamlet secures grants to restore City Lake caboose, add fencing

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The caboose at Hamlet City Lake will be fully restored thanks, in part, to a pair of matching grants. The caboose at Hamlet City Lake will be fully restored thanks, in part, to a pair of matching grants. Courtesy: Richmond County Tourism

HAMLET — The little red caboose at City Lake is getting a makeover, courtesy of a pair of grants.

Last month, City Manager Jonathan Blanton applied for a combined $15,000 in two matching grants through the Community Foundation of Richmond County and the Cole Foundation to restore the aging caboose, which sits near U.S. 74 Business on the south side of the lake.

The funding will also be used for the installation of security gate fencing and white-washed stone to be used underneath the large oak trees surrounding the caboose, according to Blanton.

“Both grants were unanimously approved over the last week and more exciting progress will soon be underway at the Hamlet City Lake,” Blanton said in a statement. “The City is immensely grateful to both the Board of Directors at the Community Foundation and the Cole Foundation for supporting and believing in the City’s goal and efforts to make the Hamlet City Lake one of the most beautiful, and safest, destinations in Richmond County.”

The restoration and security measures will be the latest in an ongoing improvement project started this summer, when the city began cleaning up.

Since then, there have been significant improvements each month.

In mid-August, the city worked out a donation-purchase deal with Vulcan Materials for 800 tons of rip-rap stone to line the lake "in order to promote a fresh, clean, and neat looking shoreline."

In September, Scotland County artist Stuart Carmichael completed the mural near the Hamlet Senior Center, with a last-minute addition featuring the likenesses of late City Council member Joe Robinson and his grandchildren.

At the September City Council meeting, Blanton outlined a master plan for the park which also includes:

  • improving the integrity of the existing dam, at the request of the state;
  • the addition of a recreational "splash pad" located between the senior center and the old VFW; 
  • an extension of the existing walking trail; 
  • more picnic areas;
  • boardwalk extensions; and 
  • bathrooms.

In October, Duke Energy began installing LED lighting to make things brighter and save the city a little money on the power bill, and the Bowtie for Boys Club at Fairview Heights Elementary created wildlife viewing signs that were installed on the west side of the lake.

Last month, the city installed a new $5,700 fountain on the lake and Blanton announced plans for a new playground.