July 09, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Two Union County governmental entities came out smelling like roses when the state Parks and Recreation Department handed out its local government grants late last week.

The City of Elgins Hun-a-ha Recreational Vehicle Park project was awarded $250,000 to complete the parks development.

The City of La Grande received $75,701 to add ball fields to the Pioneer Park complex.

Both projects were high on the statewide list as Oregon dished out $4,042,202 to 27 different projects.

There were 62 applicants asking for a total of more than $8.3 million, according to the state Parks and Recreation Department. Only 27 projects were funded.

The Elgin project was listed ninth on the priority list and the La Grande project was fifth.

Elgin City administrator Joe Garlitz said the grant to Elgin would complete the $450,000 project. Work began 15 years ago on the five-acre, city-owned site next to the Grande Ronde River.

The park, which will have 42 spaces for RVs and 15-20 for tents, received $46,000 from Regional Strategies in 1999 for underground sewer and water lines and electrical conduit and a sewer lift state. About four years ago, the city received $32,000 in the form of another Regional Strategies grant for an engineering study.

Garlitz expects to have the grant acceptance paperwork signed by the end of this month, and he hopes that construction on the park will begin shortly thereafter.

The La Grande grant will be used for work on Phase Two of the Pioneer Park master plan, which includes addition of multi-purpose ball fields which can be used for soccer, softball and baseball. The basic format calls for two baseball fields and a soccer field to be built behind the skateboard park. One of the baseball fields will be lighted.

The soccer field will be the first regulation-size soccer field in the La Grande parks system.

Construction will begin as soon as possible, city officials said. The field wont be fully completed until next year, but officials hope teams can begin play on them by next spring.