Arkansas awards more than $3.6 million in outdoor recreation grants

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism awards more than $3.6 million to communities across the state to expand recreational opportunities.

This year, 20 Matching Grants and 15 Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhood Parks Grants were awarded 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 especially proud over the past few years of many of our small towns that are experiencing downtown deterioration and are trying to get redevelopment,” said Matt McNair, program director of subsidies for outdoor recreation.

Grants are used for things like building parks or expanding and repairing existing parks with playgrounds or ball fields.

“The Outdoor Recreation Grants program is a great thing for the citizens of Arkansas,” McNair added. “It’s a great use of taxpayers’ money and a lot of people have taken advantage of it over the years.”

The grants are primarily funded by a portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. In addition to creating additional recreational facilities, McNair says the grants can help local businesses by bringing more people to areas.

Arkansas State Park Superintendent Shea Lewis said in a news release that expanding recreational opportunities has been even more critical during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials have encouraged people to spend more time outdoors rather than being confined indoors where they are more likely to contract and spread the virus.

The list of 2022 matching grant recipients includes:

  • Bald Knob (White County) to install two picnic shelters with tables, install a new play structure with impact surface and improve accessibility at Collision Park, and install field lighting at Bald Knob Sports Complex, 130,000 $.00.
  • Batesville, Independence County, to install a pedestrian bridge and improve access to Riverside Park, and install a new play structure at Kennedy Park, $146,004.00.
  • Brookland (Craighead County) to develop two new parks (Smith Street and East Ridge Parks) with pavilions, park amenities, playgrounds, walking paths, 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 install restrooms, replace play equipment, widen and resurface existing walking path and improve access to Memorial Park, $175,000.00.
  • Hope (Hempstead County) to develop a new pocket park with a shaded structure, performance stage, benches, landscaping, accessibility and lighting, $31,480.00.
  • Hot Springs, Garland County, to construct a pump track at Velocity Park, $131,500.00.
  • Johnson (Washington County) to replace playground equipment, resurface the existing basketball court, and develop a new restroom, clubhouse, volleyball facility, park amenities, accessibility and fencing at the 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 playground, amphitheater seating, restrooms, horseshoe pits and accessibility improvements at Hickory Park, $225,000.00.
  • Mountain View (Stone County) to repair and refurbish the existing municipal swimming pool and improve safety and playground access at the Stone County Recreation Complex, $90,000.00.
  • Mulberry (Crawford County) to develop pickleball courts and improve access to Mulberry City Park, $65,000.00.
  • Prairie Grove (Washington County) to build restrooms, install new play equipment and improve access to Muddy Fork Park, $119,699.32.
  • Rose Bud (White County) to build restrooms, stage and improve access to Rose Bud City Park, $48,000.00.
  • Russellville (Pope County) to develop an all-inclusive playground and improve access to the Russellville City Park, $180,000.00.
  • Scranton, Logan County to develop a basketball facility, playground, park amenities and access improvements at Scranton City Park, $50,000.00.
  • Searcy (White County) to develop access, fencing and improve site conditions at Riverside Park; improving access to the Searcy Sports Complex; and replacing old play equipment and impact surface at Yancey Park, $55,000.00.
  • Stuttgart, Arkansas County to develop a new pocket park with pavilion, movie screen wall, bike racks and bike station, concession, rest areas, native landscaping, Wi-Fi hotspot and park equipment, $195,000.00.
  • Valley Springs, Boone County, for the construction of a pavilion, improved accessibility and the installation of lighting, impact surfacing and park amenities at the Valley Springs Municipal Park , $91,385.43.

The list of 2022 FUN Park grant recipients includes:

  • Allport (Lonoke County) to develop a playground, pavilion and accessibility improvements at the Allport Community Center Park, $74,986.00.
  • Daisy (Pike County) to develop a new park with a playground, pavilion, basketball court and accessible parking/pathways, $74,999.50.
  • Goshen, Washington County to develop a new park with an accessible playground and trails at the Goshen Community Center, $75,000.00.
  • Hot Spring County to install new play equipment, gazebo pad, benches, fencing, safety features, gates and accessible pathways at Lono Community Park, $74,983.00.
  • Keo (Lonoke County) to install new playground equipment, basketball goals, picnic tables, benches and improve accessibility at Keo City Park, $75,000.00.
  • Letona (White County) to install new playground equipment and improve access to Letona City Park, $75,000.00.
  • Mansfield (Scott County) to construct a pavilion and improve access to the Mansfield Municipal Park, $30,632.00.
  • Moorefield (Independence County) to construct a walking path, picnic areas, benches, fences and improve access to the Moorefield municipal park, $75,000.00.
  • Oppelo (Conway County) to install new playground equipment and improve access to Oppelo City Park, $60,845.42.
  • Peach Orchard, Clay County for the construction of a pavilion, installation of picnic tables and replacement of existing obsolete playground equipment at Peach Orchard Park, $75,000.00.
  • Salem, Fulton County to repair, refurbish and renovate (for tennis and pickleball) existing Salem City Park tennis courts, $75,000.00.
  • Sidney (Sharp County) to replace playground equipment, improve access and install benches, gates and impact surfaces at Sidney Park, $75,000.00.
  • Swifton, Jackson County to install new play equipment, benches and access improvements at Swifton City Park, $75,000.00.
  • Tuckerman (Jackson County) to replace outdated playground equipment and associated drop zone hardware, and to provide barrier-free parking and access to the playground, restrooms and clubhouse at Tuckerman City Park , $75,000.00.
  • Washington County to install new playground equipment, landscaping and benches, and improve accessibility at Brentwood Community Park, $44,752.00.

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