Two Grand Rapids parks eyed for Michigan Recreation Passport grants – MLIVE

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The city again plans to seek Michigan Recreation Passport grants for projects at Aberdeen and Richmond parks.

A hearing is March 5 on grant applications to renovate tennis courts at Aberdeen, 798 Evelyn St. NE, and improve the lodge and picnic area at Richmond, 1101 Richmond St. NW. Grand Rapids is asking for $45,000 in each case and, if received, each grant would require $15,000 in local money.

Grand Rapids two years ago got two $30,000 Recreation Passport grants: for basketball court and restroom improvements at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park, 800 Fuller Ave. SE, and for playground upgrades at Roosevelt Park on Grandville Avenue SW. Work at King is just about finished, while contractors will start work at Roosevelt in the spring, said Jay Steffen, the city’s assistant planning director.

RELATED: Recreation Passport grant could fund mountain-biking trails at Richmond Park in Grand Rapids

The city last year sought grants for the Aberdeen tennis courts and for mountain-biking trails at Richmond, but was unsuccessful in winning funds.

“This grant program has become wildly popular since its launch,” Steffen said. “I am sure the state is interested in spreading the funds around.”

Grand Rapids is not applying for mountain-bike trail money at Richmond this year because the West Michigan Mountain Bike Association is pursuing another funding source, said James Hurt, the city’s director of public services. The association has pledged $5,500 toward the local match for the Richmond lodge and picnic project, he said.

Hurt said the city is talking to Grand Rapids Tennis Patrons about providing some of the local match for the court renovation at Aberdeen. He estimated the city would have to come up with $5,000 plus in-kind labor.

RELATED: Michigan DNR director pushes Recreation Passport change to boost parks revenue

Recreation Passport grants are funded by sales of $11 recreation passports sold by the Secretary of State. The program in 2012 awarded 19 grants totaling $735,100. A list of recipients is here.

The program in 2011 awarded 24 grants totaling $556,600.

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