Secretary Haaland Announces $61 Million to Increase Outdoor Opportunities in Urban Areas

Secretary Haaland
Photo Credit: US Department of the Interior

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grants are available to create new parks and trails, or substantially renovate existing parks, in 26 cities.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz recently announced that $61.1 million in grant funding is now available to communities in 26 cities across the U.S. through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program. The ORLP program, established in 2014, enables urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors  in economically under-served communities. Secretary Haaland announced the selected cities invited to submit final applications for their proposals (listed below) during her visit.

Secretary Haaland stated, “Funding from the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership will continue to expand our communities’ connections to urban green spaces, where children can play, families can connect, and a love and appreciation for the outdoors can be nurtured.”

Secretary Haaland
Photo Credit: US Department of the Interior

During her visit, Secretary Haaland joined Minnesota leaders to see firsthand the enhancements and opportunities of ORLP grants when she visited the recently completed Midway Peace Park in St. Paul, which received ORLP funding in 2020. Secretary Haaland also visited Willard Park in Minneapolis, which stands to receive a $1.3 million grant to expand and renovate park amenities.

At Midway Peace Park, Secretary Haaland highlighted how these efforts advance the Department of the Interior’s America the Beautiful initiative. The initiative’s goals include: advancing equity, biodiversity, and climate change through collaborative and locally led conservation. She also highlighted the Biden-Harris administration’s $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge, which is being funded partly through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It will leverage federal conservation and restoration investments with private and philanthropic contributions to accelerate land, water, and wildlife conservation efforts across the country.

“So much of the work of the National Park Service takes place in local communities through programs like the ORLP,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams. “Now in its eighth year, the program leverages federal funds to provide economically disadvantaged communities with the means to create and improve parks, trails, and recreation opportunities. We look forward to providing more grant opportunities like this to states across the country.”

Priority is given to projects that are targeted to meet the needs of under-served communities; provide opportunities for employment or job training; involve and expand public-private partnerships; and rely on a high degree of coordination among all levels of government, to expand and improve recreation opportunities for all.

The complete list of projects that will be invited to submit a final application for an ORLP grant is below.
Arkansas, Disciple Park (Jonesboro)
Establish New Park in Northeast Jonesboro – Disciple Park – $1,000,000
A new park will be established in the northeast area of the city where no recreational facilities currently exist. Amenities will include a nine-hole disc golf course, a one-mile walking trail, a two-acre fishing pond, adventure playground, multipurpose fields, greenspace, benches, and parking lot.
California, Beyer Park (San Diego)
Beyer Park Development – $5,000,000
Approximately  eight acres of Beyer Boulevard Park, currently fenced off from public use, will be developed. Funds will be used to cover a pedestrian walkway, dog park, comfort station, parking lot, exercise stations, and athletic fields.
Caifornia, The Bowtie – Rio de Los Angeles State Park (Los Angeles)
Bowtie Park Development Project – $5,000,000
A neglected brownfield will be transformed into a stand-alone sub-unit of Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The project will include remediation, and add a vehicular access road, parking lot, trails, boardwalks, open turf areas, native habitat plantings, restrooms, a welcome area, picnic tables, and benches.
California, Buchanan Street Mall (San Francisco)
Buchanan Street Mall – Phase III – $3,900,000
The five blocks that form the Buchanan Street Mall will be rehabilitated. Each block will contain a variety of community-requested amenities, including a community garden, an open lawn area, play area, picnic area, and basketball courts. All blocks will be connected by a walking/exercising path.
California, Sweetwater Park (Port of San Diego)
Sweetwater Park Development – $5,000,000
Sweetwater Park will be developed, transforming 29 acres of a coastal, environmentally-degraded, and formerly industrial-use land in Chula Vista, CA into two miles of hiking trails, nature-based play activities, wildlife viewing blinds, picnic areas, and native plant growing grounds.
  Colorado, Violet Park (Boulder)
Violet Park Neighborhood Park Development – $750,000
A  seven acre parcel of land, referred to as Violet Park, will provide an interactive adventure playground pavilion and plaza area, climbing features, nature exploration, community garden with native and sustainable plant demonstrations, a small bike pump track, and areas of passive recreation with nature paths.
Connecticut, Boccuzzi Park (Stamford)
Boccuzzi Park Improvements Project – $1,811,075
Boccuzzi Park will receive improvements to the park’s layout, replacing out-dated recreational features. A splash pad/water play feature, multi-use lawn area, playground and tot lot, dog run, additional parking, landscaping, and recreational amenities will be added.
Maine, North Deering Park (Portland)
North Deering Park Project – $400,000
Two properties will be acquired to create a 17.1-acre city park. The properties currently consist of a forested area with trails and a baseball field.
Massachusetts, Congressman Richard E. Neal Indian Orchard Community Park (Springfield)
Congressman Richard E. Neal Indian Orchard Community Park Revitalization – $1,500,000
Neil Park will be revitalized by installing a splash pad playground, picnic pavilion, trail, athletic field bathrooms, parking, and landscaping. Additionally, the project will create an improved park entrance.
Michigan Camelot Park (Grand Rapids)
Camelot Park Improvements – $479,600
Camelot Park will be expanded and upgraded with a universally accessible splashpad, restrooms, access pathway, picnic shelter with tables and grill, and other park amenities.
Heilmann Park (Detroit)
Heilmann Park Renovations – $900,000
Heilmann Park will be improved, addressing the severely deteriorated skate park, walking path, playground, sports field, basketball and tennis courts, and parking lot, as well as add a series of rain gardens, trees, and site furnishings for new picnic and gathering spaces.
Minnesota, Rice (North End) Recreation Center (St. Paul)
North End Community Center Project – $2,409,625
The Rice Recreation  project will result in a multi-use artificial turf athletic field, sepak takraw courts, a new play area, increased flexible green space, a stormwater management system, improved accessibility, lighting, furnishings, plantings, landscaping, onsite parking, and increased shade opportunities.
Minnesota, Soldiers Field Park (Rochester)
Soldiers Field Park Improvement – $5,000,000
The project will add recreational features including a lap pool, diving pool, toddler pool, splash area, and bathhouse/locker facilities, and provide an inclusive playground, trail connections, and a picnic shelter.
Minnesota, Willard Park (Minneapolis)
Secure Public Parkland and Invest in Recreation: Willard Park – $1,300,000
Planned renovations and new installations include a recreation area, play area, basketball courts, pathways, skate/BMX-spot elements, athletic field amenities, an outdoor community gathering area, and a restroom/storage building.
New Jersey, North Pulaski Park (Passaic)
North Pulaski Park Renovation – $3,349,369
A new, larger playground area, picnic groves, updated tree-lined entrances, fitness stations, native plantings, updated walking paths, and a Riverwalk will be installed.
New Mexico, Officer Daniel Webster Park (Albuquerque)
Officer Daniel Webster Park Improvements – $858,893
Funds will be used to create green spaces and install play equipment and features that will serve children with a wide range of ability challenges by removing barriers to exclusion and encouraging new skills.
New York, Centennial Park (Buffalo)
Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park Play Garden Development – $2,000,000
A “play garden” will be created, consisting of eight play areas and installing park furnishings, plants, trees, and a comfort station.
Ohio, Beulah Park-Euclid Beach Lakefront Reservation (Cleveland)
Beulah Park-Euclid Beach Connector Trail Phase I – $1,731,463
Phase I of a new lakefront trail along Lake Erie will be completed including stabilizing slope erosion and installing park furnishings.
Ohio, Campana Park (Lorain)
Campana Park Revitalization Project – $1,647,292
The project will result in the construction of seven new soccer fields, a new football field, a new softball field, renovation of 11 existing and deteriorated baseball fields, renovation of existing and construction of a new restroom/concession buildings, installation of a parking lot, paving of existing dirt parking lots, sidewalk and ADA accessibility improvements, installation of LED lighting throughout the park, and improved landscaping around new and renovated facilities.
Pennsylvania, Connell Park (Scranton)
Connell Park Revitalization – $381,594
Revitalization will include a new wellness loop trail, progressive bike/hiking trails, playground, and dog park. The project will also update the sports venue concessions stand and make infrastructure and ADA accessibility improvements.
South Carolina, Armory Park (Rock Hill)
Armory Park Redevelopment – $1,106,497
The project includes replacing old trails and adding new trails, moving the basketball court, upgrading the youth baseball field, and installing a new picnic shelter, playground, multi-purpose field, dog park, and shade trees.
Texas, Montopolis Neighborhood Park (Austin)
Montopolis Neighborhood Park Pool Replacement – $3,125,000
The city will replace the existing failing pool with upgraded recreation and zero-depth entry activity pools, renovate and expand the existing bathhouse/pump house, and complete site and utility work.
Washington, Be’er Sheva Park (Seattle)
Be’er Sheva Park Improvements – $491,446
The project includes the installation of a fitness zone, a lighted walking loop pathway, exercise equipment, resilient surfacing and landscaping, picnic tables, barbecues, bike racks, and a community gathering space.
Washington, Garfield Park (Seattle)
Garfield Super Block – $2,170,902
The project includes installing new site furnishings, play equipment, nature play elements, restrooms, a covered picnic area, a circular pathway with lighting, parkour elements, resurfacing the sports fields, making landscape improvements, and other improvements.
Washington, King County Urban Park (Auburn)
Lakeland North Urban Park (Park Name TBD) – $3,612,027
21 acres of undeveloped open space will be developed ito culturally relevant nature-based recreation amenities, including trails, signage, play features, parking, landscaping, restrooms, and site restoration.
Wisconsin, Lincoln Playfield (Milwaukee)
Lincoln Playfield Nature-Based Recreational Improvements – $1,194,250
The project will complete the construction of nature-based improvements along the east side of the existing playfield adjacent to the Kinnickinnic River. Updated recreation amenities in the western portion will include a regulation-size soccer field, renovated basketball and tennis courts, accessibility updates to the existing 1930’s fieldhouse, improved lighting, new walking loops, shade structures, and spectating areas.
Wisconsin, The Shipyard (Green Bay)
Shipyard Phase 2 Park Improvements – $5,000,000
As part of a brownfield redevelopment, the second of three phases of the Shipyard Improvement Project will be completed. The result will be a six acre park with a recreation area and great lawn for events, a dog park, an urban beach, an adventure playground, and a play fountain.

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