Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program could supply $2 million in grant funding to St. Edward State Park
Hey Marseilles entertains the crowd at St. Edward State Park in August. ANDY NYSTROM, Bothell-Kenmore Reporter
St. Edward State Park in Kenmore could be in line for more than $2 million in grant funding from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, dollars that could help expand the park by 10 acres.
The state parks department applied for the grant in order to purchase property adjacent to the existing park.
“St. Edward State Park is one of the most popular parks in Washington," said state Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline. "On sunny days, the park often must be closed to prevent overcrowding. We truly need the... grant to fund the expansion of this popular site and provide our children access to a safe outdoor area to play."
In 2010, various groups and government entities applied to the wildlife program for $192 million to fund 280 projects scattered around the state. The Washington Recreation and Conservation Office, the state agency that administers the program grants, competitively ranked the proposals. The highest rated projects will receive funding in 2011 if the legislature and governor approve the coalition's budget request.
If lawmakers OK the total funding, 124 projects will receive grants in the order of their ranking. If the legislature approves less than the coalition’s total request, the state will cut those projects at the bottom of the grant list.
Every year hundreds of applicants — from local grassroots groups to government entities — apply for grant funding from the Washington Wildlife Program. According to information provided by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, the program has provided more than $615 million for than 1,000 neighborhood and state parks, ball fields, trails, beaches and wildlife habitats.
By requiring that local project applicants provide matching funds, program grants leverage funding from cities, counties and park districts, as well as private sources.
A nonprofit citizens group, the Wildlife Coalition clearly is hoping the grants receive a positive nod from Olympia. The coalition points to a recent study by the Trust for Public Lands that states outdoor recreation and open-space opportunities contribute $8.5 billion in retail sales and services across Washington, supporting 115,000 jobs and generating $650 million in annual sales taxes.