Tennessee officials say $15 million in grant money will help fund parks and recreational trail projects in communities.

Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Shari Meghreblian say the department will award about $13.5 million in Local Park and Recreation Fund grants to 51 communities across Tennessee as well as approximately $2.1 million in Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants to 15 parks, communities and organizations across the state.

Areas in the Tennessee Valley are: 

Hamilton County

  • SORBA Chattanooga - Develop up to 10 miles of natural surface, sustainable, multi-use trail and ADA compliance on a new park being developed in Hamilton County near Chattanooga, Red Bank, and Signal Mountain.  
  • East Ridge - Pioneer Frontier: playground replacement, splash pad, and ADA compliance. 
  • Signal Mountain - Renovations to Marion Field and Driver Field including surfacing, fencing, stormwater improvements, new bleachers adjacent to Driver Field, and ADA compliance.
  • Soddy-Daisy - Northend Park Improvements: remove the current playground, install new playground equipment and surface that meets all current standards, and ADA compliance. 

Marion County

  • Whitwell - Whitwell City Park ADA compliance improvements: renovations to the existing bathroom at the walking track, construction of a new bathroom located at the horse arena, construction of a new bathroom located at the baseball fields, access paths, and parking.

McMinn County

  • Etowah - Construct a new 30' x 60' swimming pool and pool house at Etowah City Park, and ADA compliance.  

Rhea County

  • Spring City - Phase I of the Veteran's Lakeside Greenway project: convert an old highway bed to a multi-use trail, and ADA compliance.

Van Buren County

  • Fall Creek Falls State Park -Resurfacing of the Lake Trail along the lakefront at Fall Creek Falls State Park, parking area on the end of the trail adjacent to the dam will also be expanded, paved, and the addition of an ADA parking space. 

The LPRF grant program was established by the General Assembly in 1991 to provide local governments with funds to purchase land for parks, natural areas, greenways and recreational facilities. The funds also may be used for development of trails and projects in parks, natural areas, and greenways. All LPRF grants require a 50 percent match by the recipient.

The RTP is a federally-funded program established to distribute funding for diverse recreation trail projects. The funds are available to federal, state and local government agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations that have obtained IRS 501 (c) (3) status and have a written trail management agreement with the agency that owns the property where the trail project is located.

RTP grants may be used for non-routine maintenance and restoration of existing trails, development and rehabilitation, trailside or trailhead facilities such as restrooms, kiosks and parking lots, construction of new trails and land acquisition for recreational trails or corridors.

Funding for RTP grants is provided by the Federal Highway Administration through the Fixing Americans Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.