It will be quite some time before dirt is flying at the groundbreaking and even longer until Edgewood residents get to enjoy their new community center, but an important first step seems to have been secured.
Commissioner Sterling Donner announced during last week’s commission meeting that Edgewood is in line for a $10 million state/federal grant.
“There’s still a lot of work that has to be done,” he said during the meeting. “But at this point, by mid-2024, we could possibly see that money.”
The grant, which would be primarily through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been “preliminarily approved,” Donner said. “That’s a pretty big deal for the town. If we’re able to build our own community center, that would eliminate the need for some of the other things that we’ve been going after.”
Donner, who is up for re-election in Tuesday’s vote, said this is something he’s been working on for some time.
“I’ve been looking into this for a couple of months,” he said in a later interview. “It’s not something I pulled out of the hat all of sudden. It’s something the community has been asking for.”
The structure would likely go at Venus Park, near the town’s municipal building.
“It would be a space for our seniors, for our kids,” Donner said. “It just made sense to go after it. There were already plans for Venus Park to have a community center. So why not go ahead and see what is out there.”
Donner said he was inspired by the recent expansion of the Los Lunas community center, a $7.5-million project that took about a year to complete and doubled the size of the building.
He described the grant as a “hybrid program,” with moving parts still to be completed.
“We’ve been pre-approved now the meat and potatoes need to be hashed out,” Donner said. “This is where the grant writing comes into play.”
If things proceed, the money could become available by next summer and construction starting by 2025. But additional money would still need to be secured, he said.
“To build a community center, it’s going to cost more than $10 million,” Donner said. “We’ll seek additional funding and other things. There are a lot of other programs that we’ve been working.”
Donner said he envisions a center similar to Sandia Park’s Vista Grande with a health and wellness center, basketball courts and a space for seniors.
“That’s just my initial thought,” he said. “There’s a lot more that can go into it. I’m not the sole decision maker. We have to rely on the commission and community to tell us what they want in it.We something that the town can continue to be proud of. Something state of the art.”