Parks Grant Program

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Environmental Protection Fund (EPF)


Separate program applications are available, depending on the type of project proposed. The Parks application is to be used for the acquisition, development and planning of parks and recreational facilities to preserve, rehabilitate or restore lands, waters or structures for park, recreation or conservation purposes and for structural assessments and/or planning for such projects. Examples of eligible projects include: playgrounds, courts, rinks, community gardens, and facilities for swimming, boating, picnicking, hunting, fishing, camping or other recreational activities. To ensure the public benefit from the investment of state funds, public access covenants will be conveyed to the State for all park development projects undertaken by not for profit corporations. Conservation easements will be conveyed to the State for park acquisition projects undertaken by not-for-profit corporations. Parkland acquired or improved by a municipality must remain parkland in perpetuity and is subject to the State's Parkland Alienation Law (pdf).

Funding Priorities

Each year the Commissioner establishes program priorities for which projects will receive additional points.

Rating Criteria

The Priority Evaluation Form is based on the following rating criteria:

  • the extent to which the project site has suffered from physical deterioration, decay, vandalism, neglect or disinvestment or may be threatened with closure, demolition or inappropriate development;
  • the relationship of the project to a local, regional and/or statewide planning document or other assessment of need;
  • the degree to which local recreation, conservation or open space deficiencies will be addressed by the project;
  • emergencies or disasters;
  • State and Federal mandates;
  • the ability of the project sponsor to initiate and complete the project on a timely basis, at a reasonable cost, and operate or maintain the completed project;
  • annual programmatic and funding priorities;
  • the extent to which the project protects, enhances or interprets natural, cultural or historic resources; and
  • the degree to which the project will primarily serve either a densely populated area or an area where a substantial proportion of the population is of low income or otherwise disadvantaged or underserved.

Among the rating criteria, the Commissioner may award any of the following factors up to a maximum of ten points. All applications will be reviewed for the relevance of these to the project scope:

  • the geographic distribution of other fundable projects in any given application cycle;
    consideration may be given to projects in areas that have or have not received funding in recent cycles or where funding is not commensurate with the population of the area. This will be based on the proximity to other funded sites and the diversity of projects being funded on a regional and local basis, as well as the service area of the developed or planned facilities.
  • the extent to which the project will maximize the use and accessibility of a facility;
    consideration may be given to projects where funding will allow underutilized facilities to be accessed or to develop underutilized resources for public use. This will be based on the resources offered by the facility, the use of those resources and whether the proposed project will help the facility expand and enhance its public use.
  • special engineering, environmental and historic preservation concerns or benefits;
    consideration may be given to develop particularly significant resources and facilities or to develop innovative approaches to preserve valuable resources. This will be based on the type of resource being developed or rehabilitated; its rarity on a local, regional, statewide and national basis; the ability of an innovative technology to address an emergency or mitigate future problems; how well a technology can be "exported" for use on other properties and resources; and how/if the project will allow public access that would not otherwise be available.
  • the past performance, if any, of the project sponsor on previous projects;
    consideration may be given to how timely an applicant completed previous projects, including its reporting requirements; how successful it was in outreach, especially to minority- and woman-owned businesses; the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the property; and its cooperation in allowing OPRHP to complete inspections and other follow-up actions.

Applications will be reviewed, rated and awarded as ranked on a regional basis.

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