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

Feature Story

January 2020


18 Cities Earn Grants for Parks

By Joe Bush

The National Park Service recently chose projects in 18 cities to get federal funds through its Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program. The organizations overseeing the projects must at least match their share of the $11.7 million in ORLP grants through private, local and state funding. The ORLP program’s mission is to boost outdoor recreation opportunities in areas without enough close-to-home parks, and to promote the development of new or enhanced partnerships to support outdoor recreation in jurisdictions with at least 50,000 people.

The cities winning awards are in Arkansas (two projects), California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin (two projects). The top awards were $750,000, and the lowest award was $250,000.

The ORLP program began with a 2014 Congressional directive to start a national competition to complement the 54-year old Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) State Assistance Program. Over the years, the LWCF has used federal offshore oil and gas royalties to help more than 40,000 outdoor recreation projects in every state. Both the ORLP and LWCF programs are administered by the National Park Service.

“Grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund are making access to recreational opportunities possible across the country,” said Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt. ”We look forward to working with our state and local partners to increase the considerable benefits derived from our local parks and outdoor recreation areas.”

The next step is for the selected cities to submit final applications for their proposals.

“The benefits derived from connections to our public lands and parks are endless,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. ”These grants will expand important recreational opportunities in neighborhood parks and public lands for Americans in underserved areas.”

Winning projects include building a trail to link low and moderate income areas with the entertainment, business and downtown areas of Fort Smith, Ark.; creation of a riverfront park in Toledo, Ohio; two new playgrounds at Mifflin Square Park in Philadelphia; new and renovated sports facilities and creation of an aquatic play space at Douglass Park in Memphis, Tenn.; renovations and additions at the South Park Community Center recreation facilities in Seattle; development of 1.2 acres of brownfield into a new multi-use park in Milwaukee; a revitalization of Peeler Community Park in Greensboro, N.C.; renovation of Apodaca Park in Las Cruces, N.M.; and the creation of an outdoor recreation park in St. Paul, Minn.


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