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Grants to Minnesota Local Agencies for Property Development
Projects that Provide Public Recreational Opportunities

Outdoor Recreation Grant

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Deadline Date:

03/31/22

Description:

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Grants to Minnesota cities, townships, and counties for property development and acquisition projects that benefit the community in public areas. Funding is intended for the purchase, creation, expansion, and refurbishment of spaces for public enjoyment. Eligible projects are park acquisition, development, and/or redevelopment including, internal park trails, picnic shelters, playgrounds, athletic facilities, boat accesses, fishing piers, swimming beaches, and campgrounds.

The Outdoor Recreation Grant Program assists local governments in acquiring parkland and developing or redeveloping outdoor recreation facilities in local and community parks throughout the state. All land improved or acquired with assistance from this grant program must be retained and operated solely for outdoor recreation into perpetuity.

Eligible Projects:

  • Acquisition of land for future development of outdoor recreation facilities. Public access, including parking, must be provided within one year of acquisition. Recreation facilities must be developed within three years from the date of acquisition.
  • Development, redevelopment, or rehabilitation of outdoor recreation facilities on land owned by the applicant.
  • A combination of land acquisition and development, redevelopment, or rehabilitation of outdoor recreation facilities.

Eligible Recreation Facilities: 

One or more of the following major recreation facilities must be included in a proposed project:

  • Boat/Canoe Access Sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Fishing Piers/Shore Fishing Areas
  • Skating Rinks/Parks
  • Nature Study/Observation Areas
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Playgrounds, including nature playgrounds
  • Sports Fields and Courts
  • Swimming Beaches and Outdoor Pools
  • Splash Pads
  • Trails (non-motorized internal park trails)

It is expected that all existing and proposed facilities have accessible walkways to them. Please account for this in your project/budget.

Eligible Recreation Support Facilities: 

The following support facilities are also eligible for funding as part of a grant application that contains at least one facility from the eligible recreation facilities list above:

  • Change Houses, Restrooms, Shower Buildings, and Warming Houses
  • Fencing, Lighting, and Signs
  • Landscaping and Natural Area Restoration
  • Park Roads and Parking Areas (may not exceed 40% of the total project cost)
  • Fixed Park Furnishings, such as benches, drinking fountains, grills, picnic tables, trash receptacles, and fire pits
  • Walkways

Project design should be compatible with the physical characteristics of the site, consistent with generally accepted engineering and architectural design standards, in accordance with accessibility standards, and minimize risk to the health and safety of users.

All facilities within the park must be designed and available for general public use and open during typical park hours. This includes restrooms, picnic shelters, campgrounds, playgrounds, and other structures. For parks that include marina or campground facilities, an appropriate percentage of the berths/campground spaces must be available for short-term rental and an equitable method of allocating long-term rentals shall be used. All personal property must be removed at the end of each use season.

All facilities improved with this grant project must meet current Americans with Disabilities (ADA) standards. For a list of critical components of the park that must be accessible to persons with disabilities, see: https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/assistance/grants/recreation/outdoor_rec/fy23-or-manual.pdf#page=11

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 169443

Estimated Size of Grant:

- The smallest grant is $10,000 for a total project cost of $20,000.
- The maximum grant award is $300,000. Grants are reimbursed up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs.

Term of Contract:

The project start date will be the fall of 2022 or later depending on requirements for environmental resources, historical and archeological resources, and federal approval, if applicable. All work must be completed by June 30, 2024. Most funding does not allow for a project extension beyond this date. Applicants should focus on projects that will be completed during the 2023 construction season.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants: Cities, Counties, and Townships. Applicants must be the current or intended owners and managers of the property to be acquired or developed. Multi-organization collaboration is not required for this program.

Only one park may be included in an application and only one application per park. Applicants are eligible to submit more than one application and receive more than one grant.

All new and existing campgrounds and marinas must adhere to the Local Grants Program Campground/Marina Rental Policy. For more information, see:
https://files.dnr.state.mn.us/assistance/grants/recreation/outdoor_rec/fy23-or-manual.pdf#page=14

Metro Regional Parks and Greater Minnesota Regional Parks are not eligible for funding under this program.

Ineligible Facilities and Expenses:
- Construction of any facility on land not owned by the applicant/grant recipient
- Acquisition of land already in public ownership
- Any expenditure that occurs outside the dates of the grant contract
- Facilities not available for general public use
- Administrative expenses, contingency allowances, archeological surveys, and legal fees
- Design and engineering in excess of 10% of the total construction cost
- Construction of indoor recreational facilities (i.e.: ice arenas, enclosed swimming pools, etc.), concession-only buildings, press boxes, golf courses, shooting ranges, and motorized trails
- Decorative fountains, statues, and plaques
- Non-permanent skate park ramps
- Sewer to individual campsites
- Historic signage

Pre-Application Information:

Timeline: 2022 Grant Round
- Draft Application Submitted for Staff Review: March 10, 2022
- Submission deadline: March 31, 2022
- Funding announcements will be made in the summer

Applicants are urged to begin the application process early in order to allow time to complete application requirements such as obtaining community involvement and completion of appraisals.

Applicants are encouraged to submit draft applications or materials by March 10, 2022 in order to receive staff comments.

Prior to the submission of your application, it is expected that you have engaged the general public, especially those homeowners and businesses near the proposed project. You may do this through public meetings, announcements in the newspaper, letters or flyers, newsletters, an announcement on your website, emails, or face-to-face meetings. The public must have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed project. Information detailing your pubic participation process and comments received are required in your application.

Applications are assessed to ensure that the proposed project is consistent with identified priorities established in the SCORP.

The Outdoor Recreation Grant Program provides matching grants to local units of government for up to 50% of the cost of acquisition, development and/or redevelopment of local parks and recreation areas.

Payment of grant funds to the local sponsor is on a reimbursement basis. The grant recipient must initially expend monies that are then reimbursed under the terms of the grant agreement. A portion of the grant funds will be retained until a final inspection has been completed.

Significant progress must be completed on active projects before an additional proposal can be submitted.

Minnesota’s 2020-2024 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP):
https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/aboutdnr/reports/scorp/index.html

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To submit the application, email a pdf version of the application and attachments to:
Parkgrants.DNR@state.mn.us.

Audrey Mularie
Grants Specialist Coordinator
Southern MN, East Metro
(651) 259-5549
audrey.mularie@state.mn.us

Mai Neng Moua
Grants Specialist Coordinator
Northern MN, West Metro
(651) 259-5638
mai.n.moua@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155

DNR Information Center, 1-888-646-6367

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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