Governor McKee, DEM Announce Availability of $2 Million in Outdoor Recreation Funding to Help Communities Build and Expand Local Recreational Resources


PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced today that $2 million in outdoor recreation matching grants is available to help local municipalities and Native American tribes acquire, develop, or renovate outdoor recreational facilities in their communities. The grant round is now open, with a deadline of Dec. 6, 2023. Funding is provided through the 2022 Green Bond – which Rhode Island voters approved by almost 70 percent.


Since the inception of DEM’s community recreation grant program in 1988, there have been 557 grants awarded and more than $90 million invested in improvements in all 39 Rhode Island communities. Recreation development grants require a 20 percent community match. Applicants can apply for either small grants for grant funding up to $100,000 or large grants for grant funding up to $400,000. Recreation acquisition grants require a 50 percent match and are capped at $400,000.


“Increasing opportunities for Rhode Islanders to get outdoors and recreate improves mental well-being, public health, and quality of life,” said Governor McKee. “Green spaces, playgrounds, sports fields, and other recreational assets anchor communities and give them a sense of identity. I am grateful for DEM’s stewardship of this very popular matching grants program.”


Applicants are encouraged to review the grant eligibility and instructions available on DEM’s website at Scoring criteria is established by the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). Well-planned, well- described projects in urban, distressed, and environmental justice areas will score particularly well. 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 climate resilience, and promoting a cleaner environment.


DEM’s Green Space programs – which include Outdoor Recreation, Local Open Space, and Recreational Trail grants – fund land conservation, recreational land acquisition and development, and recreational trail development and improvements statewide. Rhode Island’s historic parks, bikeways, and green spaces provide opportunity for public enjoyment – in addition to improving the health of the environment, strengthening the state’s climate resilience, and supporting the economy. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Rhode Island generates $2.4 billion in consumer spending and supports 24,000 local jobs.