OLYMPIA–The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office is asking for public comments on proposed changes to the way grant applications for parks, trails and other outdoor spaces are evaluated.
The changes would affect grants in the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account, Land and Water Conservation Fund, Youth Athletic Facilities and the state’s largest grant program for parks and trails–the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program’s Local Parks, Trails, and Water Access Categories.
“Our goal is to close gaps in access to parks, trails and outdoor spaces, and better reward grant applications that have been developed collaboratively with community input,” said Megan Duffy, director of the office. “These criteria changes are part of that effort.”
The office is working to revise the evaluation criteria in four areas: project need, how that need is met (including scope and design), how the public has been involved in the project and how to value projects that would expand or renovate a facility. The office also wants to make administrative changes to align grant criteria with priorities in the 2023 Washington State Recreation and Conservation Plan and be more consistent across multiple grant programs.