NRPA and APA Announce Great Urban Parks Campaign Grant Recipients
Supporting Green Infrastructure in Cities
The National Recreation and Park Association and the American Planning Association recently announced the recipients of the 2016 Great Urban Parks Campaign grant. The four groups were awarded grants totaling $1.75 million to support green infrastructure projects to reduce flooding, improve water quality and wildlife habitat, increase biodiversity, and provide opportunities for access to nature and outdoor recreation in underserved communities.
Park Pride, Atlanta, Ga., will use the funding to establish a new public park. The centerpiece of the proposed Boone Park West is a large pond and wetland that will capture, clean and infiltrate stormwater runoff. An open lawn will provide free play and gathering spaces for residents while maintain open views from the street into the park for public safety.
Baltimore Parks and People, Baltimore, Md., will be revitalizing Ambrose Kennedy Park, which is currently mostly paved with broken asphalt. The remaining quarter of the park contains two basketball courts, few trees, a small pool and a small grass area, very little of which has been updated since its 1972 construction. The proposed changes will create a splash pad and open lawn, provide a new restroom building, add seating and recreational amenities, and incorporate green infrastructure features to reduce stormwater surface flow.
The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Pittsburgh, Pa., is going to update McKinley Park, a 78.5-acre park built more than 140 years ago that serves to connect several neighborhoods. Unfortunately, steep topography, a lack of accessible paths, poorly defined entrances and deferred maintenance issues discourage neighborhood access and limit park usage. The proposed project will demonstrate holistic green infrastructure investment as a vehicle for community revitalization, improving access to the restorative benefits of park use as well as reducing negative impacts from deteriorating infrastructure.
Environmental Learning for Kids, Denver, Colo., will establish Montebello Open Space Park through the restoration of 5.52 acres of undeveloped land. The park aims to contain all stormwater within its borders, providing a net-zero contribution to the city's stormwater management facilities. Recreational opportunities will expand through creation of nature play areas.
"Green infrastructure is essential to social and environmental change, especially in underserved areas where water quality is a major concern," said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA President and CEO. "That's why we are proud to award the Great Urban Parks Campaign grant, which will help showcase the social, environmental and economic benefits of green infrastructure in America's urban parks and beyond."