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Governor and state agencies award $500,000 in grants for outdoor recreation

Governor and state agencies award 0,000 in grants for outdoor recreation

Governor Sarah Sanders and several key agency leaders on Wednesday (July 10) awarded grants worth about $500,000 for outdoor recreation projects in seven counties across the state.

The money was awarded through a dormant program revived by Sanders known as the Great Strides program. Funds for the grants come from Arkansas’ Tobacco Settlement Fund.

“Great Strides is back and better than ever. I know that when deciding which applications to accept, the Grant Applications Committee placed a special emphasis on smaller Arkansas communities that don’t have great access to outdoor recreation. What these projects lack in scale, they make up for in impact. This program goes a long way in making every corner of Arkansas – not just a few big cities – a great place to live and raise a family,” said Governor Sanders.

She was joined by Shea Lewis, Arkansas Secretary of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, Renee Mallory, Secretary of Health, and Katherine Andrews, Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.

“The funds we are disbursing today will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for Arkansans across the state and increase access to outdoor recreation,” Lewis said. “Working with the Department of Health is an opportunity for a great partnership where we can leverage each other’s expertise and capabilities to promote a healthier, more active lifestyle for our residents and visitors.”

The recipients of the 2024 Great Strides Scholarship are:

  • Emerson, $93,735, Purple Hull Pea Park
  • Humnoke, $43,942, City of Humnoke Park Trail
  • Brinkley, $66,340, Brinkley City Park
  • Alexander, $96,990, Alexander City Park
  • Lewisville, $99,857, Lewisville City Park
  • Sevier County, $8330.08, DeQueen Lake Trail
  • Tyronza, $78,424, Tyronza Park

Recipient communities will use the grants to establish health and fitness trails that encourage physical activity and provide health benefits through safe and accessible facilities.

“The Arkansas Department of Health is pleased to once again partner with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism to provide awards and access to outdoor activities in communities across our state. Designated outdoor trails and walking paths lead to healthier communities. Outdoor trails can improve our physical, mental and social health and well-being. This well-being allows us to continue to improve and make healthier lifestyle choices for ourselves, our families and our communities. Our goal is for these grants to continue to have a positive impact on the health of Arkansas communities,” Mallory said.

The Office of Outdoor Recreation received 21 grant applications from 15 counties across the state totaling $1,611,270.28 in requested funds for fiscal year 2024. The funds to be disbursed total $500,000.

“Today we celebrate the partnership between the Office of Outdoor Recreation and the Department of Health to provide access to outdoor recreation at the local level and improve the overall quality of Arkansas’ recreation resources,” Andrews said.