Ohio DNR offers grants up to $150K for outdoor recreation projects

On Friday, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced that it is offering grants of up to $150,000 to purchase and improve public outdoor recreation projects.

In total, the ODNR said it has allocated nearly $6 million for these grants.

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The program, called NatureWorks, provides up to 75% reimbursement of project costs. All local subdivisions of government are eligible to apply, including townships, villages, cities, counties, park districts, joint recreation districts and conservancy districts.

Local school boards are not eligible, the ODNR said.

Each applicant can ask for up to $150,000 for a single project, which can be things like hiking trails, picnic shelters and nature centers.

Projects have to use the funds by the end of the grant period at the end of 2023, and the agency has to have a title or at least a 15-year non-revocable lease for development or rehabilitation grants.

The ODNR said applicants are encouraged to include on their application one or more or a short list of things the money will pay for, including:

  • Buying or protecting land in order to preserve a habitat, wetlands, forests, rivers and/or lakes
  • Primarily land-based trail projects
  • Projects providing paddlers access to waterways
  • Replacing, renovating or adapting a deteriorated or outdated publicly-used park facility

NatureWorks applications are available on the ODNR website, and must be postmarked by June 1, 2021, the ODNR said, with projects recommended for the grants to be announced in the fall.

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