Governor Whitmer proposes $150 million investment in Michigan parks and trails

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday a proposed $150 million investment in community parks and recreation facilities across the state.

The $150 million in federal relief comes from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The investment would create good-paying, blue collar jobs across Michigan, the Governor’s office said.

The 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 in the state.

In June, Whitmer announced a similar proposal, which would invest $250 million of American Rescue Plan funding in trails and parks managed by the State.

“These two new investment programs, totaling $400 million, mark a once-in-a-generation chance to improve quality of life for our residents, support local economies and bring people back to Michigan as the state continues its recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” Governor Whitmer said. “These investments will ensure our children and grandchildren continue to enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of natural beauty and outdoor spaces so prized by Michiganders.”

“We have been singing about the benefits of our local parks, trails, and greenspaces for years, however the investments have not always matched those benefits,” said Emily Stevens, president of mParks Michigan Park and Recreation Association. “This monumental funding will address the needs at our neighborhood parks and community gathering places to make them safer, more accessible and inclusive.”

Michigan’s outdoor recreation industry sustains 126,000 jobs and over $4.7 billion in salaries and wages in the state.

“As residents recognized during the pandemic when they flocked to our parks, natural spaces should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity for our wellbeing,” said Jason Shamblin, director of Ottawa County Parks and Recreation. “The cost of acquiring natural spaces; designing, permitting, and building park infrastructure; and maintaining these facilities is consistently increasing. To keep providing this critical access to the outdoors through parks and trails, additional funding is an urgent need.”

Governor Whitmer declared July as Parks and Recreation Month to shed light on the community parks and outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan.

Read her full proclamation here.

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