Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership grants leverage public-private funds to support 27 projects in 26 cities across the country
Date: Friday, May 6, 2022
ST. PAUL — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz visited Minnesota today to announce $61.1 million in grant funding is available to communities in 26 cities across the United States to create new parks and trails, or substantial renovations to existing parks, 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 underserved communities. Secretary Haaland announced the list of selected cities invited to submit final applications for their proposals during her visit.
“Access to the outdoors is essential to the health, well-being and prosperity of every family and every community in America but not everyone has the same equitable opportunities to enjoy green spaces,” said Secretary Haaland. “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.”
During her visit, Secretary Haaland joined Minnesota leaders to see firsthand the enhancements and opportunities ORLP grants bring to urban communities. Secretary Haaland, Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Tina Smith, and Representative Betty McCollum visited the recently completed Midway Peace Park in St. Paul, which received ORLP funding in 2020. Secretary Haaland, Lt. Governor Flanagan and Rep. Illhan Omar 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 America the Beautiful initiative’s goals to advance 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 and 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 Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership,” 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 underserved 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.
Since its inception in 1965, the LWCF has funded $4 billion worth of projects in every county in the country. Last year, Congress permanently funded the LWCF at $900 million per year with wide bipartisan support. At no cost to taxpayers, the LWCF supports increased public access to and protection for federal public lands and waters — including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and recreation areas — and provides matching grants to state governments for the acquisition and development of public parks and other outdoor recreation sites.
The complete list of projects that will be invited to submit a final application for an ORLP grant is below. For more information about the LWCF, please visit the National Park Service’s LWCF webpage.
The City of Jonesboro will establish a new park in the northeast area of the city where no recreational facilities currently exist. Activities and 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.
The City of San Diego will develop approximately 8-acres of Beyer Boulevard Park, currently fenced off from public use, which will serve the local low-income community. Funds will be used to cover Phase II of the project which will include a pedestrian walkway, dog park, comfort station, parking lot, exercise stations, and athletic fields.
The City of Los Angeles will transform a neglected brownfield 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. This project will provide high-quality outdoor recreation opportunities to communities that are at a greater disadvantage economically and in respect to access to close-to-home parks, as well as restore access to the Los Angeles River.
The City of San Francisco will rehabilitate the 5-blocks that form the Buchanan Street Mall, located in a densely populated neighborhood with a concentration of economically disadvantaged households. Each block will contain a variety of community-requested amenities and activities, including a community garden, an open lawn area, play area, picnic area, and basketball courts. The blocks will be connected by a walking/exercising path that runs continuously through all 5 blocks.
The Port of San Diego will develop Sweetwater Park, 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. Chula Vista is a community comprised of disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities that lack adequate public park and recreation space.
The City of Boulder will develop a 7-acre parcel of land, referred to as Violet Park, that will serve neighborhoods with under-resourced and under-served populations in North Boulder. The 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.
The City of Stamford will complete Phase II improvements at Boccuzzi Park by improving the park’s layout, replacing recreational features that have reached the end of their useful life, adding a splash pad/water play feature, multi-use lawn area, playground and tot lot, dog run, additional parking, landscaping, recreational amenities, and relocating the tennis and basketball courts. The coastal recreational area sits within the city's economically distressed Waterside neighborhood.
The City of Portland will acquire two properties to create a 17.1-acre city park in North Deering. The properties currently consist of a forested area with trails and a baseball field. This project will address an urgent community need in an area where 39 percent of the population living within .5 miles of the park is low-income.
The City of Springfield will use ORLP funds to revitalize Neil Park by installing a splash pad playground, picnic pavilion, trail, athletic field bathrooms, parking, and landscaping. Additionally, the project will create an improved park entrance. The site has only been available to city residents on a limited basis due to deteriorated conditions, poor access, and consistent drainage issues. Residents of the economically disadvantage Indian Orchard community will benefit from the revitalized Park's recreational offerings and functionality.
The City of Grand Rapids will expand and upgrade Camelot Park with a universally accessible splashpad, restrooms, access pathway, picnic shelter with tables and grill, and other park amenities. Camelot Park is located at the eastern edge of the city in a neighborhood and serves a community with a poverty rate of 26 percent. As the only public park within one and a quarter mile, it provides critical open parkland and a place for community events for the residents.
The City of Detroit will make improvements to Heilmann Park, located in the Gratiot/7-mile community, one of the City's Strategic Neighborhood Fund areas. The project will address 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. The proposed improvements will be a catalytic change that will help stabilize and rebuild a vibrant but struggling neighborhood.
The City of St. Paul will create outdoor recreation opportunities at the site of the Rice Recreation Center to address unmet community needs. The project will result in a multi-use 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.
The City of Rochester will expand recreational activities at Soldiers Field Park, located near Rochester’s Downtown, Historic Southwest, and Slattery Park neighborhoods. The Park serves a diverse, economically-distressed population with poverty levels reaching nearly 40 percent. The project will add recreational features prioritized by the local communities, 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.
The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board will expand and renovate Willard Park. The dilapidated park currently serves a local community with a poverty rate of 31 percent. 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.
Passaic County will renovate North Pulaski Park by installing a new, larger playground area, picnic groves, updated tree-lined entrances, fitness stations, native plantings, updated walking paths, and a Riverwalk. This project will serve and benefit the community of East Passaic, which has been identified as an “Overburdened Community” under the New Jersey Environmental Justice Law with nearly 66 percent of residents being low-income.
The City of Albuquerque will complete the remaining work on Officer Daniel Webster Park. Funds will be used to create green spaces and install play equipment and innovative features that will serve children with a wide range of ability challenges by removing barriers to exclusion and encouraging new skills. The project is expected to bring up to 25 short-term, as well as long-term, jobs and economic benefits to an economically-disadvantaged community.
The City of Buffalo will transform Ralph Wilson Centennial Park (formerly La Salle Park) by creating a “play garden” consisting of eight play areas and installing park furnishings, plants, trees, and a comfort station. The Park will serve the nearly 6,000 children that live in the five adjacent neighborhoods, all of which exceed poverty rates of 20 percent.
Cuyahoga County will complete Phase I of the Beulah Park-Euclid Beach Connector Trail, a new lakefront trail along Lake Erie while stabilizing slope erosion and installing park furnishings. Once built, it will become the key 750-foot trail segment that supports the westward expansion of Euclid Beach Park and opens up nearly a half-mile of new lakefront and trail for underserved communities.
The City of Lorain will revitalize the currently distressed Campana Park. Designed in collaboration with the local economically-disadvantaged community, 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.
The City of Scranton will revitalize the deteriorating Connell Park, the only park within walking distance of the upper Southside residents, with 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.
The City of Rock Hill will make significant improvements to Armory Park to provide recreational opportunities for the surrounding economically-disadvantaged, underserved community. 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.
Serving as the only pool within a 4-mile area, the City of Austin will use ORLP funds to support the Montopolis Pool Project. 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. The flexibility of the new park will enable it to serve a larger portion of the community.
Seattle Parks and Recreations will enhance and redevelop 2.4 acres of Be'er Sheva Park, located in the Rainier Beach community, along the shoreline of Lake Washington. 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.
Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn Garfield Park, located in an urban area lacking park and recreation opportunities, into a high quality, comprehensive, multi-use park by 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.
King County Parks will acquire 21 acres of undeveloped open space for a new public park and develop culturally relevant nature-based recreation amenities, including trails, signage, play features, parking, landscaping, restrooms, and site restoration. The Park is in an area lacking any walking-distance access to open space and is listed as a "high need" area for park investment by The Trust for Public Land.
The City of Milwaukee will complete the second phase of the renovation of Lincoln Playfield. Located in an area with a poverty rate of more than 35 percent, the project will complete the construction of nature-based improvements along the east side of the existing playfield adjacent to the Kinnickinnic River. Updated active recreation amenities in the western portion of the site 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.
As part of a brownfield redevelopment, the City of Green Bay will fund the second of three phases of the Shipyard Improvement Project. The result will be a 6-acre park with a recreation area with a great lawn for events, a dog park, an urban beach, an adventure playground, and a play fountain. The project was planned using guidance from neighborhood stakeholders, which was gathered through the most substantive public engagement effort the city has ever coordinated.