OLYMPIA–The Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) announced today the award of $3 million for park projects in economically disadvantaged areas of Lakewood and Seattle.
The grants are from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund’s Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program, which targets economically disadvantaged urban communities that do not have enough park and other outdoor recreation opportunities. The three Washington State grants were among 19 grants awarded nationwide.
“We’re very happy to be able to pass these grants to Lakewood and Seattle,” said Megan Duffy, director of RCO, which administers the federal grants in Washington State. “We all know the value of spending time outside. It can improve our health, reduce stress and depression, and additionally for kids, improve their academic performance. This funding will provide communities that need it the most, opportunities to receive the many benefits from outdoor recreation.”
The City of Lakewood will use a $1 million grant to improve Wards Lake Park. The City will add a bicycle and skateboard pump-track, a 3-acre fenced off-leash dog park, a 1-mile loop trail around the lake, pedestrian safety and park amenity improvements, and greater connectivity to the park and other trail corridors. In addition, the City will expand and improve the wetlands, forest and native oak-prairie habitat areas in the park.
The City has spent the past 20 years acquiring land to create an open space in this highly diverse, densely populated and economically distressed near Interstate 5, commercial areas and the International District. Despite acquiring land, the area remains deficient in park amenities. As a remnant natural area, the majority of the site has degenerated due to expansive growth of invasive plants and sedimentation from incoming stormwater.
This grant is in addition to two grants, totaling $850,000, that RCO awarded the city in June to improve the park. Those grants were from RCO’s Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program and Youth Athletic Facilities grant program. More information and photographs may be found on RCO’s online Project Search here and here.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department will use a $1 million grant to build a 1-acre park in the Rainier Valley neighborhood, one of the most demographically diverse regions in the nation. The project will enhance this dense, urban, under-represented, residential, and commercial neighborhood by creating a community recreation and gathering space. The City plans to provide a fitness zone, basketball half-court, picnic areas, a lawn, walking paths, bike racks and landscaping.
This grant is in addition to a $500,000 grant that RCO awarded the city in June from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program. More information and photographs may be found on RCO’s online Project Search.
The Seattle Parks and Recreation Department will use a second $1 million grant to renovate Maple Wood Playfield in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of southeast Seattle, one of the most diverse areas in the nation. The City plans to upgrade drainage and irrigation, regrade the fields, renovate two multi-use athletic fields and restrooms and install a grass playing surface, play equipment, a basketball half-court, gaga ball court, play structures and gathering spaces to support community events. The 9.4-acre Maple Wood Playfield is widely used by multiple groups, schools and leagues for baseball, softball, soccer and football.
This grant is in addition to a $500,000 grant that RCO awarded the city in June from the Youth Athletic Facilities grant program. More information and photographs may be found on RCO’s Project Search.