GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday a $150 million investment in community parks and recreation facilities to address local park systems' needs.
Watch the announcement here:
Funding will come from federal relief dollars from the American Rescue Plan, according the announcement.
Whitmer announced the proposal at the Idema Explorers Trail in Ottawa County, which officials say is an example of a recreation property that could benefit from the new funding.
The proposed investment would be administered as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and is meant to support local economies, health and the recovery of communities across the state.
Last month, Whitmer announced a similar proposal to invest $250 million of American Rescue Plan funding in parks and trails managed by the state.
“These two new investment programs, totaling $400 million, mark a once-in-a-generation chance to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies and bring people back to Michigan as the state continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Whitmer said. “These investments will ensure our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and outdoor spaces so prized by Michiganders. I look forward to working with the Legislature to secure this investment for our communities.”
DNR Director Dan Eichinger says local parks are a critical part of the network of recreational opportunities throughout the state.
“People just want good parks, and they don’t usually care who manages those parks provided the work is done well,” he said. “Our local community partners do an outstanding job and we continue to support their work through a variety of means, including our Recreation Passport Grant program, which provides a portion of money generated by state parks to local communities for their park development. This new program would generally be modeled on our Recreation Passport grants to help local communities develop the recreational assets they need for the next generation.”
Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry sustains about 126,000 jobs and more than $4.7 billion in wages and salaries across the state.
Whitmer also proclaimed July as Parks and Recreation Month to highlight Michigan’s state, county and location community parks.