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TDEC Announces $500,000 Recreation Grant for Athens

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today announced a $500,000 parks and recreation grant for Athens for renovations at Heritage Park.

The grant is part of $6,370,000 awarded to communities throughout the state from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund (LPRF) program and the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) program. The state is also awarding $448,000 in grants from the Recreation Trails Program (RTP).

“Local leaders need resources to provide recreational activities for their communities, and this is a way to help make it happen,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson said. “We are pleased to announce these grants and look forward to the recreation projects that result from this assistance.”  

Renovations at Heritage Park will include Architectural & Engineering work, construction of a hard surface ADA walking trail that is approximately 1,100 feet long, demolition of an existing non-ADA youth baseball/softball field and construction of a youth-size 200-foot to 225-foot ADA field. It also includes construction of ADA access and parking spaces to serve the entire park.

“These renovations at Heritage Park will allow the whole family, regardless of physical disabilities, to enjoy time together at this park by increasing its ADA accessibility,” said Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville. “I am very pleased these improvements will be made possible through this TDEC grant and appreciate the hard work from our local officials in submitting a successful grant application.”

“These grants will make critical improvements at Heritage Park that will give our citizens with disabilities greater access to our baseball and softball fields,” said Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood. “I thank Athens Parks and Recreation for their partnership in making Athens a safer, more accessible and healthier community for our citizens.”

The LPRF program provides state funding for the purchase of land for parks, natural areas, greenways, and recreational facilities. LPRF funds also may be used for trail development and capital projects in parks, natural areas, and greenways. The LWCF program provides grants to states to administer to state and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. The grants require a 50-percent match.

The RTP is a federally funded, state administered grant program, providing funds for land acquisition for trails, trail maintenance, trail construction, trail rehabilitation, and trail head support facilities. These grants are distributed in the form of an 80-percent grant with a 20-percent match.