The National Park Service is targeting projects that will create or reinvigorate parks and other outdoor recreation spaces located within or serving jurisdictions delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 Census as “urbanized areas,” that is, areas with populations of 50,000 or more people and consisting of densely settled territory. In addition, projects that seek to directly connect people to outdoor places , particularly in communities that are underserved* in terms of parks and other outdoor recreation areas and have significant numbers of individuals who are economically disadvantaged, minority, and/or youth; engage and empower members of the affected community in the development of the project; involve and expand public-private partnerships, particularly to provide for the leveraging of resources; and rely on a high degree of coordination among the public, multiple levels of government, and the private sector, to improve recreation opportunities for all.
* For the purposes of this competition, “underserved communities” should be considered as those with: (1) no existing parks; (2) some parks but not enough to support the size of the population or otherwise satisfy existing recreational demand; or (3) some existing parks (potentially even an adequate number of parks) that are so deteriorated/obsolete or underdeveloped that redevelopment or rehabilitation would have a significant impact in terms of increasing the number of people who could be served and/or increasing the recreational opportunities that could be provided (in a way that is equivalent to new).
How it works:
The MN Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is soliciting project proposals from eligible applicants and conducting the initial review and evaluation to select the top two candidates to be submitted for competition under the National Program. Only the DNR can submit applications under this program and is limited to two applications.
To be eligible, an applicant must be one of the following:
- Political subdivision of the State, that is, cities, counties, and special purpose districts such as park districts.
- Federally-recognized Indian tribes that are organized to govern themselves and perform the functions of a general purpose unit of government.
- State agencies.
And, in addition, meet both of the following criteria:
- Represent a jurisdiction of at least 50,000 people.
- Either be named as one of the 497 urbanized areas delineated by the Census Bureau or be a jurisdiction that lies geographically within one of the delineated urbanized areas.
A list of these areas was published in the Federal Register on March 27, 2012 (77 Fed. Reg. 18652-18669).
For Minnesota this includes:
- Minneapolis St. Paul Area: Includes areas in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, Washington, Sherburne and Wright Counties. Map of Area (5.4 MB)
- Rochester Map of Area (1.6 MB)
- Duluth Area Map of Area (2 MB)
- Mankato Area Map of Area (1 MB)
- St. Cloud Area Map of Area (1.9 MB)
- Moorhead Area Map of Area (1.4 MB)
- East Grand Forks Area Map of Area (728 KB)
- La Crescent Area Map of Area (2.7 MB)
Acquisition or development (or a combination) of lands and facilities that will provide outdoor recreation opportunities to the public. All park projects must meet requirements for perpetual outdoor recreation use.
The project itself should be physically located within one of the 497 urbanized areas. Projects that are not located within an urbanized area boundary are not necessarily ineligible, but may not compete well unless the sponsor can make a compelling case for how the project will serve the target populations, recognizing that access and proximity factor in the scoring criteria.
Level of assistance:
Grants are awarded for up to 50 percent of the total eligible costs. The maximum grant award is $750,000 and the minimum grant award is $250,000. The local share can consist of cash or the value of materials, labor and equipment usage by the local sponsor or by donations or any combination thereof. Costs must be incurred and paid for before reimbursement can be made.
This program finances projects using federal funds through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LAWCON). A total of $15 million is available.
Each state will be allowed to nominate up to two projects to the NPS for consideration in the national competition. In Minnesota, the DNR will conduct the initial review of proposals for completeness and eligibility requirements; evaluate proposals according to the priorities outlined in the State’s Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP); and select the proposal(s) to be nominated.
The National Park Service will prioritize the selection of projects that will: directly connect people to outdoor places, particularly in communities that are underserved in terms of parks and other outdoor recreation areas and have significant numbers of individuals who are economically disadvantaged, minority, and/or youth; engage and empower members of the affected community in the development of the project; involve and expand public-private partnerships, particularly to provide for the leveraging of resources; and rely on a high degree of coordination among the public, multiple levels of government, and the private sector, to improve recreation opportunities for all.
The 2014-2018 State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) (4.8 MB) is Minnesota’s outdoor recreation policy plan. It establishes outdoor recreation priorities for Minnesota to assist outdoor recreation and natural resource managers, the state legislature, and the executive branch in decision-making about the state’s outdoor recreation system and sets out criteria for awarding grants consistent with these identified priorities.
State Selection Notices
Applications are due to the DNR, Division of Parks and Trails by May13, 2016. The DNR will notify applicants by May 31, 2016 if their project has or has not been submitted to compete in the National Program.
Federal Award Notices
NPS anticipates that preliminary selection of projects will occur by September 30, and awards to be announced between January 1 and March 31, 2017.
Projects cannot begin until all requested final documentation has been submitted and an agreement between the applicant and the State has been signed. Funded projects must begin promptly after an agreement has been signed. The period of performance for these grants is typically from 1 to 3 years; this competition will favor projects that can be completed in shorter timeframes. Projects will be evaluated for their readiness (i.e., will begin within one year of grant award) and likelihood of completion within the stipulated period of performance.
How to apply:
Applications are due to the DNR, Division of Parks and Trails by May 13, 2016. To submit the application, email a pdf version of the application and attachments to [email protected].
Audrey Mularie, Southern Minnesota, East Metro
[email protected] or 651-259-5549
Joe Hiller, Northern Minnesota, West Metro
[email protected] or 651-259-5538
You are welcome to contact either Audrey or Joe with questions.
Division of Parks and Trails
500 Lafayette Road, Box 39
Saint Paul, MN 55155
Related DNR programs: