The City of Big Rapids was awarded funding from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan DNR for its Hemlock Park Splash Pad. According to a press release, the Hemlock Park Splash Pad Project is slated to receive $238,600.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is critical to creating quality outdoor recreation resources that add value and improve the quality of life for communities throughout Michigan,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This fund is an excellent example of successful collaboration among federal, state and local government partners that yields health and social benefits for residents and visitors.”
Big Rapids was one of 22 communities awarded grant money as part of the the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Michigan residents and visitors turn to trails, parks, campgrounds and other welcoming public places to connect with family, friends and the outdoors,” said DNR Director Dan Eichinger. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with other important grant programs administered by the DNR, continues to provide vital access to Michigan’s out-of-doors.”
For a list of other communities receiving grant money CLICK HERE
The DNR uses Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to help develop public outdoor recreation facilities and to provide matching grants for local governments to do the same. The program supports Native American tribes, villages, cities, townships and counties, and divisions within the DNR in their efforts to give people better, broader access to quality public outdoor recreation opportunities.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is supported by revenues from federal gas and oil development from the Gulf of Mexico. Following congressional appropriation, the monies are apportioned to the states by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior each fiscal year. The project recommendations will be sent to the National Park Service for federal approval.
The Great American Outdoors Act, signed into law in August 2020, established permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Just five years ago, Michigan was issuing just over $2 million in annual grants on behalf of the National Park Service. With the change in legislation, the state will see more fiscal stability and increased funding in the Land and Water Conservation Fund grant program. These changes resulted in the DNR raising the maximum application request from $300,000 to $500,000 for application cycles.
Eligible applicants include any unit of government including Native American tribes, school districts or any combination of units with the legal authority to provide recreation. Applicants can seek funding for a variety of projects, including development of and improvements to playgrounds, trails and walkways, skate parks, boat launches, picnic areas, sports fields and campgrounds, in addition to improved access for users of all abilities beyond Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
Application materials and information for LWCF grants will be available early in 2022 at Michigan.gov/LWCFGrants. Applications for the 2022 funding cycle are due April 1.