For Release:
Contact: Susan Zemek
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office

Free Webinar Jan. 17

OLYMPIA–The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) will begin accepting applications next week for grants to build or improve outdoor athletic facilities, with a focus on communities that lack recreational opportunities or funding.

“Spending time outside provides so many benefits,” said Megan Duffy, RCO’s director. “People who spend time outside can improve their physical and mental health and reduce their stress. Kids can improve their academic performance and social skills. It’s important that everyone has access to these benefits. These grants are meant to help level the playing field and support communities that have fewer outdoor recreation spaces, underserved groups of people or limited money to provide outdoor recreation amenities.”

The new Community Outdoor Athletic Facilities grant program was funded by unused revenues for the construction of Seattle’s Seahawks Stadium, now Lumen Field. About $12.5 million is available for the program, allocated across six regions of the state. There is the potential for additional legislative funding next biennium to fund more of the applications received.

Free Webinar RCO is hosting a free online workshop to showcase the grant program and explain application requirements at 10 a.m., Jan. 17. Register via Zoom. A recording of the webinar will be posted afterwards on RCO’s website. Applying is a two-step process. A pre-application, which contains only a few general questions about the proposed project, will be accepted from Jan. 17 to Feb. 27. An applicant must submit a pre-application to be eligible for funding consideration. The final application will be due
June 20.

Eligible applicants include Native American tribes, towns, cities, counties, qualified nonprofit organizations and special purpose districts, such as park and recreation, port and school districts.

The grants may be used to buy land or develop or renovate outdoor athletic facilities such as athletic fields, sports courts, sports facilities, swimming pools, tracks and courses and skating rinks. Applicants may request up to $1.2 million per project and are not required to provide any matching resources.

“We’re very excited to be able to offer this funding to communities,” Duffy said. “And we’ll be even more excited to see thousands of people outside using these spaces.”