The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has recommended projects from 16 Ohio communities for grant funding that will exceed $1.5 million. These funds are for community-based projects that will help preserve green space and improve outdoor recreational activities for families across Ohio. These funds are pending final approval by the National Park Service and are provided through a federal matching grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
ODNR administers the federal LWCF grant program for Ohio. This year, the LWCF program will support the acquisition of more than 550 acres of green space as well as the development and improvement of three playgrounds, a splash park, a skate park, four new park restrooms, a shelter house and an outdoor band shell. Funding from these grants will also make Ohio’s park infrastructure more accessible.
“Our job at ODNR is to provide the best outdoor recreational opportunities to encourage communities statewide to experience all that Ohio has to offer,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Technology provides many indoor entertainment options these days, but spending time outdoors with family doesn’t only create fond memories, it can promote a healthier lifestyle.”
The LWCF provides up to 50 percent reimbursement assistance for state and local government subdivisions, such as villages and cities, for the acquisition, development and rehabilitation of outdoor recreational areas. The federal grant program is supported by offshore oil lease revenues and other non-tax sources. Many local parks, trails, pools and other outdoor recreation facilities that Ohioans enjoy today were made possible through the federal program, which has awarded more than $150 million to projects in Ohio since its inception in 1965. To learn more about the LWCF, go to: realestate.ohiodnr.gov/outdoor-recreation-facility-grants.
NatureWorks is a similar grant program for outdoor recreation facilities in parks that is funded through the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue. This year’s awarded NatureWorks projects will be announced this coming autumn.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.