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Area Communities, Counties Among Those Getting Outdoor Recreation Grants

Several area facilities will benefit from grant funding from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

The edited press release from the Governor's Office highlighting area organizations is below:  

Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is awarding $4.34 million in Outdoor Recreation Grants to projects within 29 counties across the state.  The grants fall into two categories: Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhoods (FUN) Park grants and matching grants.

“My administration is looking for any opportunity to get kids and families off screens and outdoors. It’s a priority for our whole state,” said Governor Sanders. “This year’s multi-million-dollar investment in playgrounds, park facilities, and more will provide added amenities to communities from the Delta to the Ozarks. It’s all part of my goal to make Arkansas the best state in America to live, work, and raise a family.”

“The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) has provided $52.6 million in matching grants since 1988 and $16.4 million in FUN Park grants since 1991,” said Secretary Shea Lewis. “These funds have undoubtedly enriched the quality of life for Arkansans statewide, fostering greater access to outdoor recreation and bolstering the vitality of local economies.”

These awards have helped cities and counties develop public outdoor recreation facilities.

“Our team works tirelessly throughout the year to provide more access to the outdoors for Arkansans through this grant program,” said Katherine Andrews, Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

“It’s amazing to see the positive impact that even minor investments in neighborhood parks can have on a community,” said Matt McNair, director of the ORGP. “Visiting a community after one of our park projects has been completed can be absolutely stunning.”

Project officers make recommendations regarding the feasibility of proposed facilities, eligibility for grant monies and other facets of the planning process.  Each year, nearly 200 site visits are conducted to assist local communities.

Two of the matching grants are going to an area community and county. The City of Huntsville is receiving a $210,000 matching grant to construct a splashpad, restroom facility, drinking fountains, and associated accessibility improvements in Madison County Walking Trail Park while Searcy County is granted just over $111,000 to repair and refurbish the pool, restrooms, and concession facility at County's Civic Center and improve seating, accessibility, and lighting at Civic Center ballfields in Marshall. 

Area 2024 FUN Park grant recipients are receiving $100,000 each for various projects. Those projects include the installation of new play equipment and improve access at Wesley Community Park in Madison County, the construction of a walking trail, pavilion, seating, play area, and accessibility features at Parthenon Community Park, the construction a new play area, fencing, accessibility features, seating, and to repair the basketball facility at Pyatt Downtown Park in Marion County, and the installationn of playground equipment and to construct a pavilion, walking trail, seating, and accessibility improvements in Witts Springs Community Park.


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