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Friday, February 26, 2016

DEM offers grants for outdoor recreation

May 27 deadline for proposals for matching grants to towns

Related imageAs part of a continued focus on supporting healthy communities and promoting outdoor recreation, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced the availability of $4 million in matching grants to local municipalities to acquire, develop, or renovate recreational facilities in their communities. 

The application period is open through May 27, 2016.

"There are tremendous economic, health, and environmental benefits to modernizing our recreational facilities and creating greenspace in our cities," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "These features - as well as the many amazing parks, beaches, and other natural areas around the state - help attract people to live and grow a family or business in Rhode Island. Promoting this critical sector of our economy is key to moving our state forward."

"Having safe, accessible places to get outdoors and exercise is so important to promoting healthy habits in Rhode Island families," said Andy Moffit, First Gentleman and Chair of the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council. "Gina and I make it a point to walk or bike ride with our kids as often as possible. This time together outdoors is special to us. We encourage all Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the many exceptional places we have around the state to be active and have fun as a family."

Last month, Raimondo established the Rhode Island Outdoor Recreation Council by Executive Order in an effort to promote growth of outdoor recreation in the state. 

Rhode Island's outdoor recreation industry is an increasingly important part of our state's economy, contributing an estimated $3.3 billion annually and supporting 36,000 jobs. 

As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, municipal facilities play an important role in beautifying communities, supporting public health, and promoting a cleaner environment. 

Since the inception of DEM's community recreation grant program in 1988, 427 grants have been awarded and $66 million invested in improvements in all 39 Rhode Island communities.

"We encourage cities and towns to take advantage of this opportunity to improve and expand their recreational facilities," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Providing people with places in their neighborhood to get outdoors and enjoy nature is core to ensuring Rhode Island remains a wonderful place to live and to fostering our next generation of environmental stewards."

The grants, which require a community match and range from $100,000 to $400,000, are funded through 2014 Open Space bond proceeds. 

Applications will be evaluated and scored by the Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee, consisting of government and non-profit members, using the Open Project Selection Process (OPSP) developed under the 2009 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. 

Grant awards will be announced later this year. For more information or to apply, visit us online

For general information on DEM's programs and divisions, visit or follow us on Facebook at or via Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM).