Supplement Feature - April 2015
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Flourish Through Funding

Strategies to Support Park Creation and Maintenance

By Chris Gelbach

Pursuing the Dream Park

When initially considering funding for a trail or park, Pack recommends thinking about what your dream looks like. "Go ahead and think about what all of those amenities might cost, and then plan a phased approach for implementation," Pack said. "And you might be able to get funding sources from different places, depending on whatever the size of that amenity might be."

Thinking big can also lead to potential partnerships that can enhance the entire project, such as through opportunities to partner with local arts organizations to incorporate interactive public art. It can also help you think about the ways in which the park can provide multiple benefits to the community.

"Everything is about how parks can display that they are multifunctional," Nagel said. "That they're not just about recreation. That they're also about environmental conservation, and about health, and about community cohesion."

In the process, sometimes an initial funding success can also lead to bigger things. Flanigan noted the example of Spartanburg, S.C., which was able to secure significant foundation funding after KaBOOM! designated the city as a Playful City USA community.

"Success breeds success, and I think that when you start to work at getting a small grant to get things going, it has a multiplier effect," Flanigan said. "Having those proof points really helps to bring in additional dollars, especially from the business community. If they see the investment the city is making in ensuring that families are going to want to live and work there, it has a ripple impact on the long-term investment that can be made in that city."