GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources have approved funding for 13 park projects across the state, including four in West Michigan.
The 13 projects will cost an estimated $7.4 million, covered by grants from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a shining example of what’s possible when federal, state and local government partners come together to deliver real benefits for Michigan residents and visitors,” Whitmer said in a release. “Today’s $7.4 million in projects will improve facilities people use every day and support the outdoor recreation economy that brings billions in value and supports thousands of jobs across Michigan. Let’s keep working together to invest in Pure Michigan.”
Of the four West Michigan projects, the Lexington Green Park Improvement Project in Kalamazoo County will receive the most funding — $500,000. The other projects are the Fred Meijer Trail Hub Project in Montcalm County ($465,000), improvements at Hale Park in Ionia County ($382,000) and adding restrooms at Ottawa Sands in Ottawa County ($242,900).
A $428,600 grant was also issued for renovations at the Dr. T.K. Lawless Dark Sky Park in Cass County, one of two internationally certified dark sky parks in the state.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund is supported by the Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law in August 2020 and uses tax dollars from energy development to support facilities and infrastructure at national parks, wildlife refuges and recreation areas across the country.
“Access to the outdoors is vital to the quality of life for everyone who lives here or visits here,” Michigan DNR Director Dan Eichinger said in a release. “The Land and Water Conservation Fund, in addition to other important grant programs, broadens that access in meaningful ways, whether through expanded hiking trails, increased public water access, or better amenities like restroom renovations and welcoming pavilions at local parks. These grants are integral to connecting more people to our state’s uniquely Michigan outdoor experiences.”
More projects for Michigan parks are on the horizon. Earlier this year, Gov. Whitmer signed the Building Michigan Together Plan, which will invest approximately $450 million into state and local parks, addressing a backlog of infrastructure and maintenance projects.