LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer traveled to St. Clair Shores last Wednesday to promote her proposal to invest $150 million in federal relief dollars from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to address critical needs in local park systems. The proposed investment would be administered as a grant program by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and would support the economies, health, and recovery of communities across the state.
Last month, Whitmer announced a similar proposal to invest $250 million of American Rescue Plan funding in parks and trails managed by the State of Michigan.
“Michigan is famous for its natural beauty and superb outdoor recreation spaces,” said Governor Whitmer. “We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our local parks and trails and take concrete action to protect and enhance the natural spaces that our great state is known for. This will improve quality of life for our residents, and promote tourism to Michigan, which will jumpstart our economy and support our local businesses.”
One measure of recreational needs in local communities is the number of grant requests received each year by the DNR that go unfunded. Over the last five years, the average of development grant applications to the DNR for three primary grant programs – the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Recreation Passport Grants, and Land and Water Conservation Fund – has approached $40 million annually. Nearly $20 million of those annual requests could not be met because of lack of available funding. Governor Whitmer’s proposed investment would close this gap, and ensure that every community has safe, clean, and beautiful outdoor recreation spaces that every resident can enjoy.