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Governor Chafee, DEM Announce $4.2 Million In Recreational Development Grants to 23 Rhode Island Communities

Providence, RI - The Department of Environmental Management announces the awarding of $4.216 million in open space recreational development matching grants for 35 projects in 23 communities across the state. The grants will fund a variety of projects benefiting Rhode Island cities and towns from Woonsocket to Westerly, including new basketball, tennis, and horseshoe courts; skate parks; sports fields; handicap docks; a nature trail; restrooms; and various site improvements.

"Today's grants will provide new and expanded opportunities for Rhode Islanders of all ages in urban, suburban, and rural communities to participate in physical activity," said Governor Lincoln Chafee. "As a former Mayor, I know how important these bond funds are to our cities and towns because they will help our communities provide and maintain clean, safe, and attractive local parks and recreation facilities for their residents to enjoy."

"DEM is delighted to award these grants that will help expand and improve the recreational opportunities available to Rhode Islanders in neighborhoods across the state," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "The wide-range of projects funded by the grants will help enhance the quality of life in local communities and ensure a beautiful Rhode Island and healthy Rhode Islanders."

All of the grants have been awarded from state funds and represent the last round of grants from the state's 2008 Open Space and Recreation Development Bond Authorization along with remaining funds from other recreational bond issues. The grants will provide 50 percent of funding to acquire, develop, or renovate outdoor recreation facilities. Categories include large grants which range from $75,000 up to $200,000 each, and small grants of up to $75,000 each for projects of smaller cost. The state grants will be matched by local bond funds and federal grants to generate $10.575 million in recreational project improvements throughout Rhode Island.

These grants will enhance the state's efforts to preserve open space by establishing a diverse group of recreational facilities. The grants provide $958,734 in funding for 16 small recreation development projects including the development of new fields and courts at Corliss Park and Pastore Park in Providence; construction of a handicap dock on the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick; and renovation and upgrade of basketball courts, playground equipment and fields at Silver Spring Playground in East Providence.

The grants will also provide $2,249,895 in funding for 13 large urban and suburban projects including development of a sport complex and construction of new basketball, tennis and horseshoe courts in Bristol; installation of new football turf, lighting and site improvements at Tucker Athletic Complex in Cumberland; and waterfront improvements, restrooms and a parking overlook at Canal Street Park in Westerly.

Also awarded was $1,008,050 in parkland grants to six communities to acquire 137 acres of land that will be used for park development. This includes 115 waterfront acres for the Hall/Seaman's Waterfront Project in Coventry; 15 acres for park development at Camp Meehan in North Providence; and five acres for construction of four new fields at Glocester Memorial Park in Glocester.

The Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee selected the 35 projects from a total of 44 applications. DEM is administering the grants.

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