Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey awarded $1.5 million in grants to cities and counties across Alabama to improve parks and facilities including DeKalb County’s own, Collinsville.

According to a press release by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, grants by the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund will help 15 counties and municipalities to improve their parks and build new facilities.

“By enhancing the outdoor recreational opportunities in our communities, these projects will make Alabama an even better place to live and work for families,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to play a role in helping local leaders complete these improvements, and I encourage everyone to experience the great parks and recreational opportunities these areas have to offer.”

ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said Ivey’s support will allow ADECA to partner with communities to improve recreational facilities.

“Some of my family’s best memories are often formed by experiences at community parks, playgrounds and trails, and these projects will increase the opportunities for families to spend time together enjoying the outdoors,” he said.

Collinsville was granted $198,650 that will go towards building new softball fields at the Collinsville Municipal Park.

According to LWCF, the grant program only allows recipients to receive the grant if they match the funds dollar for dollar.

Collinsville Mayor Johnny Traffanstedt said the funds will be matched out of the city’s general funds.

He said they will build two softball fields on the south end of the park.

“It’ll be added to the same area where the little league fields are,” Traffanstedt said. “We hope to get them under construction as soon as we possibly can.”

He said the new fields will boost the recreational softball league and encourage more players.

“We didn’t really have any softball [fields],” Traffanstedt said. “We were having to use the little league field for our small girls to play softball on. We’ve really been in need of this for a good while. We’ve got a good high school program, and we need to make it better to have a good youth program for our softball.”

Traffanstedt said the city went through the proper procedures over a year ago in order to apply for the grant.

“A lot of our little girls play softball, and we want to encourage them,” he said. “We’ve been working on this for about a year and a half.”

DeKalb County Superintendent and former Collinsville High School Assistant Principal Jason Barnett said he is proud for the community.

“We’ve been working on this quite some time,” Traffanstedt said. “It came to and we are just delighted.”

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