OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board will give the City of Wenatchee a Bravo Award on Thursday for its outstanding park project at Saddle Rock.
The City’s grant application scored Number 1 of 70 projects competing for grant funding statewide in the highly competitive Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. Funded by the Legislature with the sale of state bonds, the grant program is designed to build parks and trails and conserve wildlife habitat and working farms.
Wenatchee will use the grant to provide parking, restrooms and an outdoor classroom at the Saddle Rock gateway and outdoor education area. The City will expand the limited street-end parking that is often overflowing and causes neighborhood issues, as well as develop a trail accessible to people with disabilities and install educational stations and shade structures. Finally, the City will plant native and drought-tolerant landscaping. Saddle Rock is a year-round outdoor recreation and education destination in the Wenatchee Valley. From snowshoeing to horseback riding and hiking, the area is used by thousands of residents and visitors each year.
“This is a great project,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grant. “The City is investing in a beautiful location that will give its residents a place to recreate and relax as well as a place where children and adults can learn and appreciate the natural environment.”
Cottingham will present the Bravo Award to the Wenatchee City Council at its regular meeting at 5:15 p.m., in city hall, 129 S. Chelan Ave., Wenatchee.
“This project was a result of a great partnership between Wenatchee and the Wenatchee School District, Chelan-Douglas Land Trust, Dry Gulch Preserve, Alcoa Foundation, and many members of the community,” Cottingham said. “Strong partnerships are what make these kinds of projects successful. So a big thank you to all the partners.”
Outdoor recreation contributes significantly to Washington’s economy. Each year, people spend $21.6 billion on outdoor recreation in Washington State and outdoor recreation supports nearly 200,000 jobs. Investing in our outdoor places is very important to our state’s economy.
The competition for grant funding is high, with projects rated by citizens and professionals on many factors, such as need, how well the project is designed and cost-effectiveness.
“Only the best projects get funded,” Cottingham said. “We consistently see high quality projects from the City of Wenatchee. The City has received grants for projects in many parks, including Hale, Lincoln, Pioneer and Rotary Parks, as well as for providing access to the Columbia River and helping with the Wenatchee Foothills Trail.”
The City of Wenatchee has been awarded 16 grants since the late 1960s, totaling more than $4.2 million. The City has matched that amount, translating into an $8.4 million investment in outdoor recreation.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board was established in 1964 to finance recreation and conservation projects throughout the state. For more information on the agency or its grant programs, visit the Web site: www.rco.wa.gov.
For more information and photographs about the project, see the Saddle Rock Gateway and Outdoor Education Area Project