Speaker Shekarchi announces $320,000 in funding for Apponaug Recreational Complex improvements
STATE HOUSE – Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi has announced that the city of Warwick has been awarded a development grant for $320,000 to fund improvements to the Apponaug Recreational Complex.
“Our recreation facilities are one of the reasons Warwick is such a fantastic community,” said Speaker Shekarchi. “Having great recreational opportunities is beneficial for Warwick families, but these facilities and programs also draw visitors to our city, which gives our local merchants and restaurants a boost. I’m thrilled that this funding will go a long way in making the Apponaug Recreation Complex even more fun – and accessible – for all to enjoy.”
As part of a continued focus on supporting healthy communities and promoting outdoor recreation when the state economy begins to reopen, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today awarded $4.1 million in matching grants to 13 local municipalities to develop or renovate recreational facilities in their communities, including $320,000 in a large development grant for Apponaug Recreation Complex improvements in Warwick.
The grant will fund multiple improvements, including the renovation of the existing playground with new equipment, accessible surfacing, improved loop paths, accessible parking, new stair handrails, bleachers, benches, tables, shade trees, interpretive signage, and little league field safety netting.
Since the inception of Earth Day in 1970, efforts to improve air and water quality, clean up contaminated lands, conserve open space, and increase recreational opportunities have greatly enhanced Rhode Islanders’ quality of life. Over the past five decades, almost 50,000 acres of land have been protected and nearly $89 million in grants has been invested for over 557 recreation projects across the state.
Rhode Island’s outdoor recreation industry is an increasingly important part of our state’s economy, contributing an estimated $3.3 billion annually and supporting 36,000 jobs. As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, municipal facilities play an important role in beautifying communities, supporting public health, strengthening the state’s climate resilience, and promoting a cleaner environment. With today’s award, there have been nearly 557 grant-funded projects totaling more than $89 million invested in improvements in all 39 Rhode Island communities since the inception of DEM’s community recreation grant program in 1988. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Rhode Island generates $2.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 24,000 local jobs.
The grants, which require a community match and range from $72,000 to $400,000, are funded through 2021 Beach, Clean Water and Green Bond proceeds. Categories include large grants that range from $100,000 to $400,000 each, and small grants of up to $100,000 each for projects of smaller cost. The state grants will be matched by local funding to generate over $5 million in recreational project improvements throughout Rhode Island.
Applications were evaluated and scored by the Rhode Island Recreation Resources Review Committee, consisting of government and non-profit members using the Open Project Selection Process developed under the 2019 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan. This is one of the “Green Space” grants DEM offers to local communities; other grant funds support Local Open Space and Recreational Trails.