Whitmer proposes $150 million in parks funding as ‘once in a generation opportunity’

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Michigan economy was hit hard by Covid-19 — but now with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid at the ready — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer knows one place she wants to invest.

“I am proposing we use $150 million so we can invest and modernize MIchigan’s local parks,” Whitmer said.

This comes on the heels of the Governor announcing last month she wants to invest $250 million toward parks and trails to enhance tourism.

“We know that our investment in parks and recreation make Michigan a more competitive and attractive destination for tourism,” Whitmer said.

She’s calling this potential investment a once-in-a-generation opportunity.

Lansing’s Director of Parks and Recreation Brett Kaschinske said he would be thrilled to receive any additional funds.

“We have 111 parks, we have over 2,000 acres of parklands so we have a lot of infrastructure where we need rehabilitation,” Kaschinske said.

That’s not to mention four community centers, more than 70 playgrounds, 16 miles of river trail and outdoor pools. Funding normally comes from general funds, state grants and millages, but Kaschinske welcomes another source.

“This gives us another tool in the tool box…to fund those various recreation pursuits,” he said.

So, if the funding comes through, what would Kaschinske want to fix first?

“The needs of our playgrounds,” he said. “They were put in in the early 1990s. That’s definitely a glaring need.”

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