OLYMPIA – The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Funding Board today awarded nearly $7 million in grants to build and improve sports fields and facilities around the state.
The board awarded 32 grants to cities, counties, park districts, tribes and non-profit organizations for projects in 15 of the state’s 39 counties.
“There’s a lot of great work being done all around the state,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “Communities are building or improving sports fields so that kids and adults have places to play, get exercise and compete. Without this funding, many communities simply couldn’t afford to improve these athletic facilities.”
A recent study noted that $1 billion is spent in Washington on ball sports, including $107 million on equipment annually. The study also estimated that 3.9 million people participate in ball sports in Washington
“Sports fields can help get, and keep, our kids healthy. Team sports teach important life skills, such as teamwork and the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” Cottingham said. “Use of the sports fields not only will result in less health care costs down the road, but it will support today’s businesses. Washington’s outdoor recreation industry is important to our state’s economy. Making sure we provide good places for outdoor sports and athletics is important to many businesses and families in this state.”
The Youth Athletic Facilities program grants are funded by the Legislature through the sale of state general obligation bonds.
All of the funded projects were evaluated and ranked through a competitive process in which citizen committees with expertise in recreation evaluated the projects and created ranked lists for funding consideration by the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.
“We never have enough money to fund all the projects,” Cottingham said. “The process ensures that only the best projects rise to the top and receive money.”
The office accepted applications for 44 projects, requesting more than $9 million. The grant program requires applicants to contribute matching resources. This year, the matching resources totaled nearly $21 million, nearly tripling the state’s investment in Washington’s outdoor recreation and conservation efforts.
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.
Click below for descriptions of each grant awarded in the following counties