By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – The R.I. Department of Environmental Management announced this week that it is accepting applications from municipalities for funding for open-space-recreation projects.
Approved projects will receive 50 percent of funding needed to acquire, develop or renovate outdoor recreation facilities. A total of $5 million in funds are available this year, provided for through the Rhode Island Open Space Bond Authorization of 2012.
“I am glad that the funds from the voter-approved environmental bonds, which I proposed for the 2012 election, will be used to benefit our cities and towns, and protect and enhance recreational areas, open spaces, parks and beaches,” said Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in a prepared statement. “They are state assets that draw visitors from around the world and are a source of pride for Rhode Islanders.”
Municipalities may apply for large project grants ranging from $75,000 to $400,000 each, or smaller project grants of up to $75,000 each.
DEM will also accept applications for passive and historic park development/recreation grants, which provide up to 90 percent of funding or a maximum award of $100,000 to restore, renovate or develop parks. A total of $500,000 is available for park development grants this year.
Applications will be accepted through Nov. 29, and will be reviewed and scored by the eight-member Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee, made up of state and local government officials and representatives of nonprofit agencies. The highest scoring applications will be forwarded to DEM Director Janet Coit for review and approval.
The DEM expects to announce the grant awards in January 2014.
“This new grant round is another milestone in our efforts to help expand and improve recreational opportunities in neighborhoods across Rhode Island,” said Coit in a release. “Providing children and families with places in their communities where they can get outdoors, enjoy nature, get fit and have fun is the key to ensuring a beautiful Rhode Island and healthy Rhode Islanders.”
Since 1986, the DEM grant program has helped to expand the recreational opportunities available to Rhode Islanders and enhance the state’s efforts to preserve open space.
Prior projects to receive grant funding include the construction of four tennis courts, restrooms and a concession area at Riverpoint Park in West Warwick; the addition of a new multi-purpose field at Deerfield Park in Smithfield; the development of Depot Square Park in Hopkinton; and the creation of a parking lot and walking path at Rocky Point in Warwick.
Grant applications, specific rules governing each grant program and additional information is available from Joseph Dias at the DEM’s Division of Planning and Development at (401) 222-2776 ext. 4301.
Information and downloadable applications are also available on the DEM’s website at www.dem.ri.gov.