Ten Florida parks to receive Land and Water Conservation Fund grants

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Marking the 50th anniversary of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, the state Department of Environmental Protection executed a series of contracts for Florida park renovations and improvements.

Approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior through the National Park Service, the 10 projects in nine counties statewide will cost more than $1.8 million.

Founded in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is a competitive grant program designed to safeguard natural areas, water resources and America’s cultural heritage, as well as provide recreation opportunities to the public. The grant-matching program is the primary federal investment to ensure easy access to public, open spaces in nearly every county in America.

LWCF provides money for local communities to care for parks and recreational resources, with more than 41,000 projects. The Fund has supported everything from the Grand Canyon National Park and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail to building neighborhood hiking and biking trails, improving playgrounds and ball fields.

In Florida, eight of the 10 projects received maximum grant requests of $200,000. The remaining two received $175,000 and $50,000. For each applicant dollar, the project will receive one federal dollar for all grant awards.

“Local governments recognize the importance of providing outdoor recreation options to their residents and utilize grant match programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund to invest in their community,” said DEP Office of Operations Director Rick Mercer. “We are thrilled that these 10 projects are executed and we join the nation in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”

A few of the projects in this round of LWCF funding include:

  • Construction of a playground/play area, nature trail, picnic pavilion, boardwalk, observation deck and related facilities including parking and signage at Keaton Beach Coastal Park, Taylor County
  • Construction of an observation deck with walkway access, picnic pavilions and shelters, kayak and canoe launch, horseshoe court, and other related facilities at Legacy Park in the city of Venice, Sarasota County
  • Development of an expanded pedestrian trail, a floating boat dock, an off-road bike trail, restroom renovations, an expanded parking lot and other related facilities at Hampton Pines Park in the city of North Lauderdale, Broward County

The Land and Recreation Grants Section within the Bureau of Financial Management administers the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Interior Department and National Park Service.

  • Lucie County /Pepper Park Renovations: $175,000
  • Santa Rosa County/Bagdad Mill Site Trail: $200,000
  • Miami-Dade County (City of Miami Beach)/Par 3 Project: $200,000
  • Taylor County/Keaton Beach Coastal Park: $50,000
  • Glades County/Curry Island Trailhead: $200,000
  • Sarasota County (City of Venice) /Legacy Park: $200,000
  • Broward County (City of North Lauderdale)/Hampton Pines Park Improvements: $200,000
  • Lake County/Lake ldamere Park: $200,000
  • Escambia County/Escambia Sports Complex: $200,000
  • Lake County (City of Tavares)/Woodlea Regional Sports Complex : $200,000

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.