The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is awarding more than $3.6 million to communities across the state to expand recreational opportunities.
This year, 20 Matching Grants and 15 Park Grants were made available to facilities for underdeveloped neighborhoods in 25 counties. A total of approximately $58 million has been awarded since the grants began more than three decades ago.
“With the Matching Grant, I’ve been particularly proud over the past few years of many of our smaller towns experiencing core degradation and trying to achieve rehabilitation,” said Matt McNair, director of the Outdoor Recreation Grants program.
The subsidies are used, for example, for the construction of parks or the expansion and repair of existing parks with playgrounds or ball fields.
“The Outdoor Recreation Grants program is a great cause for Arkansas citizens,” added McNair. “It’s a great use of taxpayers’ money and a lot of people have benefited from it over the years.”
The grants are funded primarily from a portion of the real estate transfer tax administered by the Arkansas Department of Treasury and Administration. In addition to creating additional recreational facilities, McNair said the grants can help local businesses by bringing more people to the areas.
Arkansas State Park Director Shea Lewis said in a press release that expanding recreational opportunities was even more important during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials have encouraged people to spend more time outdoors rather than confining themselves indoors, where they are more likely to contract and spread the virus.
The list of 2022 Matching Grant recipients includes:
- Bald Knob (White County) is developing two picnic shelters with tables, installing a new impact surface play structure and improving accessibility at Collision Park, and installing field lighting at Bald Knob Sports Complex, $130,000.00.
- Batesville (Independence County) to install a footbridge and improve access to Riverside Park and install a new play structure at Kennedy Park, $146,004.00.
- Brookland, Craighead County, is developing two new parks (Smith Street and East Ridge Parks) with pavilions, park facilities, play areas, walking trails, basketball facilities and access, $225,000.00.
- Cave City (Sharp County) to construct a new playground with accessibility and fencing at Cave City Park, $75,834.13.
- Clarksville, Johnson County to develop an all-inclusive playground and improve accessibility at Cline Park, $225,000.00.
- Dumas (Desha County) to develop restroom facilities, replace playground equipment, widen and rehabilitate existing trail, and improve access to Memorial Park, $175,000.00.
- Hope (Hempstead County) to develop a new pocket park with shade structure, stage, benches, landscaping, accessibility and lighting, $31,480.00.
- Hot Springs (Garland County) to build a pump track at Velocity Park, $131,500.00.
- Johnson (Washington County) to replace playground equipment, renovate an existing basketball court and develop new restrooms, pavilion, volleyball court, parking facilities, accessibility and fencing at Johnson City Park, $225,000.00.
- Lowell (Benton County) to develop an all-inclusive playground with shade structure, accessibility and fencing at KJ Memorial Park, $225,000.00.
- Mountain Home (Baxter County) to develop an all-inclusive play area, amphitheater seating, restrooms, horseshoe pits and accessibility improvements at Hickory Park, $225,000.00.
- Mountain View (Stone County) to repair and refurbish existing town pool and improve playground safety and access to Stone County Recreational Complex, $90,000.00.
- Mulberry (Crawford County) develops pickleball courts and improves access to Mulberry City Park, $65,000.00.
- Prairie Grove (Washington County) to develop restrooms, install new play equipment and improve access to Muddy Fork Park, $119,699.32.
- Rose Bud (White County) to construct restroom facilities, stage areas and improve access to Rose Bud City Park, $48,000.00.
- Russellville (Pope County) to develop an all-inclusive playground and improve access to Russellville City Park, $180,000.00.
- Scranton, Logan County to develop basketball facility, playground, parkland and accessibility improvements at Scranton City Park, $50,000.00.
- Searcy, White County, to develop access, fencing and land condition at Riverside Park; improving access to the Searcy Sports Complex; and replace old playground equipment and impact pads at Yancey Park, $55,000.00.
- Stuttgart, Arkansas County to develop a new pocket park that includes a pavilion, movie screen, bike racks and bike station, concession facility, seating areas, native landscaping, Wi-Fi hotspot and parking facilities, $195,000.00.
- Valley Springs, Boone County to construct a pavilion, improve accessibility, and install lighting, impact protection, and parking facilities at Valley Springs City Park, $91,385.43.
The list of 2022 FUN Park Grant recipients includes:
- Allport (Lonoke County) to develop a play area, pavilions and accessibility improvements at Allport Community Center Park, $74,986.00.
- Daisy (Pike County) to develop a new park with playground, pavilion, basketball facility and accessible parking/pathway, $74,999.50.
- Goshen (Washington County) to develop a new park with playground and accessible trails at the Goshen Community Center, $75,000.00.
- Hot Spring County installs new play equipment, gazebo pad, benches, fences, safety equipment, grills and accessible pathways at Lono Community Park, $74,983.00.
- Keo (Lonoke County) installs new playground equipment, basketball goals, picnic tables, benches and improves accessibility at Keo City Park, $75,000.00.
- Letona (White County) installs new playground equipment and improves access to Letona City Park, $75,000.00.
- Mansfield (Scott County) to build a pavilion and improve access to Mansfield City Park, $30,632.00.
- Moorefield (Independence County) to develop a trail, picnic areas, benches, fences and access improvements at Moorefield Town Park, $75,000.00.
- Oppelo, Conway County, installs new playground equipment and improves access to Oppelo City Park, $60,845.42.
- Peach Orchard (Clay County) to build a gazebo, install picnic tables and replace existing obsolete playground equipment at Peach Orchard Park, $75,000.00.
- Salem, Fulton County to repair, renovate and resurface (for tennis and pickleball) existing tennis courts at Salem City Park, $75,000.00.
- Sidney (Sharp County) to replace play equipment, improve access, and install benches, grills, and impact pads at Sidney Park, $75,000.00.
- Swifton, Jackson County, installs new playground equipment, benches and access improvements at Swifton City Park, $75,000.00.
- Tuckerman (Jackson County) to replace obsolete play equipment and associated fall zone material and provide accessible parking and access to the playground, restroom and pavilion at Tuckerman City Park, $75,000.00.
- Washington County installs new play equipment, landscaping, benches and improves accessibility at Brentwood Community Park, $44,752.00.