It was announced on Monday at a press briefing with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam that dozens of communities across the state would be receiving part of a parks and recreation grant totalling more than $17 million dollars.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is awarding $15.8 million in Local Park and Recreation grants to 55 different communities and another $1.9 million in Recreational Trails Program grants for 12 parks in various communities.
Locally in Marion County, the Town of Kimball will be receiving a $138,000 park grant going toward a playground, softball complex, storage, and restroom facility at the Kimball Park on Industrial Blvd.
Besides the project in Kimball, other communities receiving funding include:
– Another $121,000 grant for Tracy City goes toward improvements at the town-owned Old Tracy School Gym. The town of Palmer is getting $18,000 for new playground equipment.
-Bradley County: The City of Cleveland is getting $500,000 for renovation of the Tinsley Park tennis courts.
– McMinn County/Athens: Local officials are getting a $200,000 Recreational Trails Program grant. The money is to be used to purchase an abandoned CSX rail line and extend the Eureka Trail and develop it with a new surface.
“Local parks and recreation areas provide opportunities to gather, experience nature and enjoy outdoor activities,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau in the news release. “We’re grateful to be able to help fund these projects, which will pay dividends for our communities now and in the future.”
The Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant program was established by state lawmakers in 1991 to provide local governments with funds to purchase land for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities. The funds also may be used for development of trails and projects in parks, natural areas and greenways.
All Local Parks and Recreation Fund grants require a 50 percent match by the recipient. Grant recipients were selected through a scoring process with careful consideration given to the projects that met the selection criteria and expressed the greatest local recreation needs.
The federally funded Recreational Trails Program is established to distribute funding for diverse recreation trail projects. The funds are available to federal, state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations that have obtained IRS 501 (c) (3) status and have a written trail management agreement with the agency that owns the property where the trail project is located.
Those grants may be used for non-routine maintenance and restoration of existing trails, development and rehabilitation, trailside or trailhead facilities such as restrooms, kiosks and parking lots, construction of new trails and land acquisition for recreational trails or corridors.
Funding for trails grants comes through the Federal Highway Administration via the Fixing Americans Surface Transportation (FAST) Act of 2015. The state administers the grant program here. The maximum federal share for each project is 80 percent, with Recreational Trails Program grant recipients providing a 20 percent match.