Governor, state agencies award $500,000 in outdoor recreation grants

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 68 views 

Gov. Sarah Sanders and several key agency leaders awarded roughly $500,000 Wednesday (July 10) in outdoor recreation grants to projects in seven counties across the state.

The money was allocated through a dormant program, revived by Sanders, known as the Great Strides program. Funding for the grants comes from Arkansas’ Tobacco Settlement Fund.

“Great Strides is back and better than ever. I know that when deciding which applications to accept, the grant writing committee had a special focus: smaller Arkansas communities without robust access to outdoor recreation. What these projects lack in size they make up for in impact. This program goes a long way toward making sure that every corner of Arkansas – not just a few big cities – is a great place to live and raise a family,” said Gov. Sanders.

She was joined in announcing the grants by Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Shea Lewis, Department of Health Secretary Renee Mallory, and Office of Outdoor Recreation Director Katherine Andrews.

“The funds we are handing out today undoubtedly will enrich the quality of life for Arkansans statewide, fostering greater access to outdoor recreation,” said Lewis. “Working with the Department of Health is an opportunity for a great partnership where we can leverage each other’s specialized knowledge and skills to promote a healthier, more active lifestyle for our residents and visitors.”

The 2024 Great Strides grant recipients are:

  • Emerson, $93,735, Purple Hull Pea Park
  • Humnoke, $43,942, City of Humnoke Park Trail
  • Brinkley, $66,340, Brinkley City Park
  • Alexander, $96,990, Alexander City Park
  • Lewisville, $99,857, Lewisville City Park
  • Sevier County, $8330.08, DeQueen Lake Trail
  • Tyronza, $78,424, Tyronza Park

Recipient communities will use these grant funds to establish health and fitness trails that encourage physical activity and provide health benefits through safe and easily-accessible facilities.

“The Arkansas Department of Health is thrilled to once again partner with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to grant awards in communities around our state and enable accessibility for outdoor activities. Designated outdoor trails and walking paths lead to healthier communities. Outdoor trails can improve our physical, mental, and social health and wellness. This well-being allows us to keep improving and making choices for a healthier lifestyle for ourselves, our families, and our communities. Our goal is for these grant awards to continue to positively impact the health of Arkansas communities,” said Mallory.

The Office of Outdoor Recreation received 21 grant applications from 15 counties across the state totaling $1,611,270.28 in requested funds for fiscal year 2024, with funding to be disbursed totaling $500,000.

“Today is a celebration of the partnership between the Office of Outdoor Recreation and the Department of Health with the goal of providing access to outdoor recreation at the local level and improving the overall quality of Arkansas’s outdoor recreation resources,” said Andrews.