Whitmer proposes $150M funding in native parks and recreation

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GRAND HAVEN, Michigan – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday a $ 150 million investment in community parks and recreational facilities to meet the needs of local parking systems.

Check out the announcement here:

Funding will come from federal aid from the American rescue plan, according to the announcement.

Whitmer announced the proposal on the Idema Explorers Trail in Ottawa County, which officials say is an example of a recreational area that could benefit from the new funding.

The proposed investment would be managed as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and is designed to support the local economy, health, and recreation of communities across the state.

Last month, Whitmer announced a similar proposal to invest $ 250 million from the US rescue plan in state-managed parks and trails.

“These two new $ 400 million investment programs represent a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life for our residents, support the local economy, and bring people back to Michigan as the state shakes off the effects of the pandemic,” said Whitmer. “These investments will ensure that our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and the outdoor spaces so valued by Michigandans. I look forward to working with lawmakers to secure this investment for our communities. “

DNR director Dan Eichinger says local parks are an important part of the network of recreational opportunities across the state.

“People just want good parks, and they usually don’t care who runs those parks, provided the job is done well,” he said. “Our local community partners are doing a great job, and we continue to support their work through a variety of means, including our Recreation Passport Grant program, which provides a portion of the money raised by state parks to local communities for their park development. This new program would generally modeled on our Recreation Passport grants to help local communities develop the recreational facilities they need for the next generation. “

Michigan’s outdoor leisure industry has approximately 126,000 jobs and more than $ 4.7 billion in wages and salaries across the state.

Whitmer also declared July Park and Recreation Month to highlight Michigan’s state, county, and local community parks.