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Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism announces Outdoor Recreation Grant awards

Almost $6.5 million awarded to projects in 35 counties 

(LITTLE ROCK) – The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism is awarding $6.489 million in Outdoor Recreation Grants to projects within 35 counties across the state. The grants fall into two categories: Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhoods (FUN) Park grants and matching grants.

“These grants help projects to complete or improve upon facilities that provide quality outdoor recreational opportunities within our local communities,” said Mike Mills, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Not only do these projects improve quality of life for the people who live in these communities, they also boost the local economy by providing additional amenities to draw visitors who will shop, dine and may even stay overnight.”

The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) has provided $50.3 million in matching grants since 1988 and $14.3 million in FUN Park grants since 1991. These awards have helped cities and counties develop public outdoor recreation facilities.

“The program has accomplished so much since its inception,” said Matt McNair, director of the ORGP. “However, I’m even more excited about the work we’ll accomplish this year because this is the largest total award amount that we’ve ever given away.”

Project officers make recommendations regarding the feasibility of proposed facilities, eligibility for grant monies and other facets of the planning process. Each year, nearly 200 site visits are conducted to assist local communities.

“Through these grants we’re engaging more Arkansans with the outdoors and creating spaces where the outdoors intersects with quality of life, public health, wellness and economic development,” said Katherine Andrews, director of the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation.

The 2023 matching grant recipients are:

  • Batesville (Independence County) to purchase and install playground equipment at Splash Pad Park and Kennedy Park that includes barrier-free access improvements; to install a walkway to provide barrier-free access to an existing playground at the Soccer Complex – $175, 677.00
  • Beebe (White County) to replace batting cages near the public pool with a splash pad and update playground equipment, including replacement of a slide and fall zone material at Beebe City Park-John Douglass Sports Complex; to provide barrier-free access improvement to an existing playground at Beebe Community Pond – $250,000.00
  • Booneville (Logan County) to build a splash pad, restrooms and walkways; to enhance existing playground with new equipment, new impact material and border; to refurbish existing playground equipment; and provide new park amenities at Marcelle Phillips Park – $215,000.00
  • Bryant (Saline County) to include additional inclusive play equipment and a rain garden to address drainage issues at Mills Park – $166,437.80
  • Corning (Clay County) for renovation of the Corning City Pool and Wynne Community Park – $250,000.00
  • Des Arc (Prairie County) for a new restroom and concession stand at the ballpark complex – $158,896.62
  • Fairfield Bay (Van Buren County) to install playground at Sunset Park; to acquire land for Pickleball Courts Park and develop pickleball facilities, lighting, electricity, fencing, accessible parking and walkways – $222,415.00
  • Goshen (Washington County) to acquire an additional 19.3 acres of park land for Mill Branch Park – $120,800.00
  • Greenwood (Sebastian County) to build a splash pad, parking, driveway and accessibility in Bell Park – $239,278.15
  • Horatio (Sevier County) to improve Hendrix Sports Complex adding new play equipment border timbers, engineered wood fiber and ADA access – $24,990.00
  • Little Rock (Pulaski County) for grading to build a soccer field, install soccer goals, provide seeding, bleachers, new play equipment, parking and a boardwalk and removal of damaged/unsafe play equipment at Boyle Park – $180,000.00
  • Maumelle (Pulaski County) for an all-inclusive playground that will connect to the existing inclusive splash pad by the library and charter school – $240,000.00
  • Mena (Polk County) for a splash pad, parking and sidewalks at Tapley Park – $250,000.00
  • Miller County for play equipment, a pavilion, parking and a sidewalk at Alex Smith County Park – $78,336.20
  • Mountain View (Stone County) to resurface deteriorated tennis courts, restripe for tennis/pickleball combination use, construct ADA access improvements to tennis/pickleball courts at the Recreational Complex; replace/replenish fall zone surfacing at the city park – $79,727.00
  • Newport (Jackson County) to replace old/obsolete swings, provide barrier-free access to swings, basketball court, slide and pavilion at Hines Park; to install barrier-free parking and access, and a fence to improve user safety at swings at Normandy Park – $35,401.00
  • Osceola (Mississippi County) to resurface and restripe tennis courts for combination tennis/pickleball use, bury overhead electric lines, construct barrier-free access and install new fall zone material at the small playground at Florida Park – $75,000.00
  • Prescott (Nevada County) to provide a shade structure and basketball goals for Prescott City Park; to construct an ADA-accessible parking pad that will connect to the concession stand, install a chain link fence, lighting and a gravel parking lot at McRae Park – $36,676.15
  • Shannon Hills (Saline County) to construct a walking trail, exercise stations, picnic tables, a shade structure and to rehabilitate the existing basketball court in Clayton Park – $89,035.60
  • Springdale (Washington County) to install an all-inclusive playground facility at Murphy Park – $220,000.00

The 2023 FUN Park grant recipients are:

  • Arkansas City (Desha County) to install a basketball court and pavilion – $100,000.00
  • Augusta (Woodruff County) to construct a community park on library property that will include a multi-purpose pavilion/stage, play equipment, seating, landscaping and barrier-free access – $100,000.00
  • Beedeville (Jackson County) to expand playground area, add new play structures, replace playground fall zone material, install gravel in parking area and restripe existing barrier-free parking space at Beedeville City Park – $100,000.00
  • Bradford (White County) to replace outdated/deteriorated bleacher seating, install concrete pads and shade covers at Bradford City Park – $100,00.00
  • Buckner (Lafayette County) to include a walking trail, play equipment, a sidewalk and remove old play equipment at Leroy Brown Memorial Park – $99,997.30
  • Caulksville (Logan County) to develop Caulksville City Park, install a playground with impact surface and fencing, construct walkways, parking and other amenities – $100,000.00
  • Clarendon (Monroe County) to include a pavilion, picnic tables and parking at Donald Branch Fishin’ Hole Park – $99,995.00
  • Concord (Cleburne County) to install new play structure, replace fall zone material at existing play area, replace fence separating park from adjacent city streets, provide barrier-free parking and access improvements at Brackett City Park – $97,479.00
  • Delaplaine (Greene County) to install new playground equipment and fall zone material at existing playground area, construct picnic shelter with tables, barrier-free parking and walkways at Delaplaine City Park – $100,000.00
  • Dell (Mississippi County) to install a pavilion and gazebo with picnic tables and a barrier-free walkway to each, barrier-free access to the existing playground area at Dell City Park – $99,000.00
  • Emmet (Nevada County) to construct a multi-purpose pavilion with electrical and water access, repair existing walking trail and parking at Fireman’s Park – $100,000.00
  • Fifty Six (Stone County) to remove deteriorated softball field lighting, remove/replace chain link baseline fencing and backstop, regrade softball field, install bleachers with concrete pads, install barrier-free parking and sidewalk access at Fifty Six City Park – $98,102.00
  • Fountain Lake (Garland County) to install a pavilion, parking and sidewalk – $100,000.00
  • Hartford (Sebastian County) to install play equipment, sun shade, musical equipment and other site amenities at McClung Music Park – $100,000.00
  • Hazen (Prairie County) to install play equipment, parking and sidewalks at Town and Country Park – $92,995.38
  • Jennette (Crittenden County) to construct a new park with a basketball court, playground with impact area, pavilion and barrier-free parking/access – $99,214.00
  • Marmaduke (Greene County) to install a pavilion, impact material for existing playground, barrier-free access and parking at Marmaduke City Park – $98,620.00
  • McCrory (Woodruff County) to install play equipment, wood fiber fall zone surfacing, perimeter fencing, barrier-free parking and access at Raney Park – $99,522.00
  • McNab (Hempstead County) to rehabilitate walking trail and add benches – $99,991.20
  • Oil Trough (Independence County) to install safety surfacing at play area, playground equipment, drinking fountain, barrier-free parking and access to connect to existing pavilion at Oil Trough School Park – $100,000.00
  • Pangburn (White County) to install swing set, fall zone material, performance course exercise equipment, barrier-free parking and access at Pangburn City Park – $100,000.00
  • Appleton Community (Pope County) to construct/install a backstop, light poles, electricity, fencing, foul poles and accessible parking and walkway at Appleton Ball Park – $100,000.00
  • Ravenden Springs (Randolph County) to install new playground equipment/area, barrier-free parking/sidewalk, access to new playground and existing restroom, pavilion and basketball court at Smokey Belcher Park – $100,000.00
  • Rison (Cleveland County) to include sensory stations, benches and parking at Veterans Park and Powell Park – $99,968.00
  • Saint Paul (Madison County) to construct a walking trail, accessible parking, install impact surface, fencing, benches and electricity to pavilion at Robbie Stephens Park – $100,000.00
  • Welcome Home Community (Searcy County) to construct a walking trail, accessible parking and pavilion, benches, and playground at Welcome Home Community Park – $100,000.00
  • Star City (Lincoln County) to install play equipment, trash/recycling receptacles, benches and sidewalks – $100,000.00
  • Fox Community (Stone County) to replace/repair fencing around ballfield, install new fence at basketball court, develop barrier-free access to dugouts and basketball court at Fox Community Park – $99,918.00
  • Strawberry (Lawrence County) to develop new park adjacent to City Hall including a play structure with a fall zone, pavilion with tables, barrier-free parking and access – $100,000.00
  • Waldenburg (Poinsett County) to construct new park on property adjacent to City Hall to include a playground, half-court basketball court, pavilion and barrier-free parking/access – $100,000.00
  • Weiner (Poinsett County) to replace existing outdated and deteriorated play area with new playground features, including fall zone surfacing and barrier-free parking and access to the existing pavilion and playground area at Weiner City Park – $98,659.34
  • Wheatley (St. Francis County) to replace the existing pavilion and deteriorated sidewalk, rewire site lighting, make drainage improvements and install fence around the sewer lift station at Wheatley City Park – $98,500.00
  • Winslow (Washington County) to build a walking trail and accessible parking pad at Winslow City Park – $100,000.00
  • Wrightsville (Pulaski County) to install a pavilion, sidewalks, play equipment, parking and fencing – $100,000.00

Outdoor Recreation Grants Program
The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) resides within the Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation and is tasked with the promotion and facilitation of public outdoor recreation in Arkansas. To help accomplish these goals, the ORGP offers technical and funding assistance for land acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation facilities to local governments throughout the state. Funding for matching and FUN Park grants is provided by a portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Visit to learn more about the ORGP or call Matt McNair at 501-682-1227.

Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation
The Arkansas Office of Outdoor Recreation works to leverage the state’s natural assets to grow the outdoor recreation economy. The office focuses on economic development, education and workforce training, conservation and stewardship, and public health and wellness to ensure the state’s strategic growth as a place where outdoor businesses and recreation communities can flourish.

Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism
The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism protects and promotes our state’s natural, cultural and historic assets, contributing to a thriving economy and high quality of life. It is made up of three divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage and Arkansas Tourism. Mike Mills serves as the cabinet secretary for the department.