Recreation Management - Ideas and Solutions for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

July 2018


Grants Help Local Trail Projects

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By Deborah L. Vence

Local trail projects are receiving funding to help with trail maintenance, trail building and community engagement projects nationwide. Recipients of the 2018 Doppelt Family Trail Development Fund grants were announced recently by the Rails-to-Trails (RTC) Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.

The grants have an emphasis on strategic investments that support regional and community trail development goals. The Doppelt Fund, established in 2015, supports small, regional projects that are vital to trail systems, but often fall through the cracks of traditional funding streams. RTC received nearly $5.5 million in application requests for the 2018 grant cycle, demonstrating the national reality of unmet trail funding needs.

"Trail managers commonly express frustration as they seek funding for projects that address important trail maintenance and development needs," stated Eli Griffen, RTC's manager of trail development resources and the manager of the Doppelt Fund grant program. "These projects are often smaller in scope and scale, making them hard to finance within traditional funding streams. This grant program provides important resources communities need—in some cases, raising awareness of a project within the community, and in others, maintaining trails or providing the match funding necessary to acquire a corridor and build the trail."

The 2018 Doppelt Fund grantees indicate the largest pool of RTC-funded projects to date, with more than $140,000 invested in 10 projects nationwide. The fund also was supported by an additional $40,000 legacy gift from North Carolina Rail-Trails Inc. and a $20,000 gift from an anonymous donor.

Grant recipients include the following:

  • City of Dayton (Ohio), receiving $15,000, which will serve as a federal funding match for the acquisition of a former rail corridor that eventually will be home to a new trail, The Flight Line.
  • Dallas County Conservation Board (Iowa), receiving $15,000 for the acquisition of six parcels of land required to extend the iconic High Trestle Trail to the Raccoon River Valley Trail north of Des Moines.
  • Friends of Clare County Parks & Recreation (Mich.), receiving $5,000 to increase support for an off-road alignment of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail through Clare.
  • Idaho Panhandle National Forests, U.S. Forest Service, receiving $20,000 to resurface and reshape the slope of the Route of the Hiawatha through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel.
  • Marin County Bicycle Coalition (Calif.), receiving $5,000 to promote efforts to convert the closed Alto rail tunnel into a crucial trail link through Marin County.
  • Rock Island Rail Corridor Authority (Mo.), receiving $25,000 for the Greenwood Connector, which will help to build the final 8-mile trail segment to complete a statewide trail connecting St. Louis to Kansas City via the Katy and Rock Island Trails.
  • Western New York Land Conservancy Inc., receiving $10,000 to conduct a design competition to convert a former rail line in Buffalo into a trail and linear park.
  • New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, receiving $7,500 to build support for the Ice & Iron Greenway, a future rail-trail through densely populated and underserved communities in North Jersey.
  • Rutherford County Government (N.C.), receiving $30,000 for trail enhancements that will improve and encourage trail use, including the development of crosswalks and fencing, installation of educational kiosks and signs, and construction of wildlife viewing stations along an extension of the Thermal Belt Rail-Trail.
  • Southwest Renewal Foundation of High Point, Inc. (N.C.), receiving $10,000 to increase capacity for the future Southwest High Point Greenway, including outreach expenses and matching funds for additional grants.

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