COLUMBUS, OH -- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) today announced nearly $5,000,000 in state and federal grants to Ohio communities for local parks and recreation improvements. Included are $3,431,519 in state NatureWorks grants and recommendations by the state for $1,530,368 in grants from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund.
The NatureWorks awards represent the ninth annual round of a total of more than $55,000,000 in state grants to be funded by the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Fund bond issue, approved by voters in November 1993. Each state grant requires a 25 percent match with local funds, while a 50 percent match is required for each federal grant.
Through its continuing investments in hometown parks and recreation facilities, the NatureWorks program provides new and improved opportunities for Ohio families to enjoy our state's great outdoors. These state grants are complemented by federal funding made available through the Land & Water Conservation Fund, said ODNR Director Sam Speck.
According to Speck, the department received a total of 215 applications for this round of NatureWorks grants. A population-based formula, adopted by the General Assembly in 1994, is used to determine the proportional share of grant funds available in each county. Applications are then ranked competitively by ODNR on a broad range of criteria. Similar criteria are used to select recommendations for Land & Water Conservation Fund grants.
The NatureWorks bond issue program, designed to fund major renovations and improvements for Ohio's state and local parks, state forests, nature preserves, wildlife areas and other natural resources facilities, was established in 1994 following voter approval the previous year.