By Emily Greenhalgh
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee and R.I. Department of Environmental Management director Janet Coit announced $4.2 million in recreational development and acquisition matching grants at a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.
“Today’s grants will provide new and expanded opportunities for Rhode Islanders of all ages in urban, suburban and rural communities to participate in physical activity,” said Chafee in a prepared release.
“As a former Mayor, I know how important these bond funds are to our cities and towns, because they will help our communities provide and maintain clean, safe and attractive local parks and recreation facilities for their residents to enjoy,” he added.
The $4.2 million – the last round of grants from the state’s 2008 Open Space and Recreation Development Bond - was split between 35 projects in 23 communities across the state.
“DEM is delighted to award these grants that will help expand and improve the recreational opportunities available to Rhode Islanders in neighborhoods across the state,” said Coit.
The money was split between large grants, which range from $75,000 to $200,000 each and small grants of up to $75,000.
The state grants will be matched by local bond funds and federal grants to generate $10.6 million in recreational improvement projects throughout the state.
Of the small grants, $958,734 was allocated to small recreation development projects, including new fields and courts at Corliss Park and Pastore Park in Providence, construction of a handicap dock on the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick and renovation of basketball courts, playground equipment and fields at East Providence’s Silver Spring Playground.
Thirteen large urban and suburban projects were allocated $2.2 million for the development of a sport complex and basketball, tennis and horseshoe courts in Bristol, new football turf, lighting and other site improvements at Tucker Athletic Complex in Cumberland and waterfront improvements, restrooms and parking at Canal Street Park in Westerly.
“The wide range of projects funded by the grants will help enhance the quality of life in local communities and ensure a beautiful Rhode Island and healthy Rhode Islanders,” said Coit.
One million dollars in parkland grants were awarded to six communities to acquire 137 acres of land to be used for park development.
The land includes 115 waterfront acres for the Hall/Seaman’s waterfront project in Coventry, 15 acres for park development at Camp Meehan in North Providence and 5 acres for the construction of four new fields at Glocester Memorial Park.
The Rhode Island Recreation Resources review committee selected the 35 projects from a total of 44 applications.