To support city planning and policy efforts that help increase access to high-quality, close-to-home parks and public green space, Ratcliff and New Blaine in Logan County was selected to receive $50,000 each in FUN Park grant funding through the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.

Parks are essential to healthy and thriving communities and can benefit communities, not just today, but far into the future. FUN Park Grants help provide communities the funds for park projects.

FUN Park Grants are available annually to cities with populations of 2,500 or less and to unincorporated communities sponsored by their county.

“For FY 2020, applicants could apply for up to $50,000 to develop public outdoor recreation facilities,” said John Beneke, Outdoor Recreation Grants Program Director. “Applications are scored by staff and the highest scoring FUN Park Grant applicants are invited to public hearings held during the last week of October.”

Beneke said that at these hearings, applicants present their projects to the Outdoor Recreation Grants Advisory Committee comprised of five members appointed by the Governor. The committee recommends funding for projects based primarily on need and local support. Staff conduct Project Management Workshops with successful applicants and, after the grantee demonstrates that they are ready to proceed, a contract is executed between them and the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism and the grants funds are released.

Ratcliff Mayor Roger Hughey said, “We are happy to be chosen as a recipient of this grant. As of right now, the plan is to add a pavilion and playground equipment for the children.”

Hughey said that currently, they do not know the exact costs for the planned projects, so other projects will be decided if funds are available.

“We will start the plans process in the next 30 days and we are hoping to have the projects completed by late summer.”

Logan County Judge Ray Gack, who accepted the grant on behalf of the New Blaine township, said that the New Blaine funds would be used for playground equipment and the plan is to start on the project as soon as possible.