City of GB receives state grant for warming hut at Physician’s Park

GRAND BLANC — The state Department of Natural Resources has awarded the City of Grand Blanc a $127,500 Recreation Passport grant.

The DNR announced in November that it had awarded nearly $2 million in recreation grants for local parks and trail improvements and development. Since the state initiated the program 10 years ago, it has awarded $12.7 million.

The city will use the funds to install a warming hut at the ice rink/splash pad in Physicians Park.

Recreation Passport grants are designed to boost visitation and funding for state parks and provide funding for local, community parks and trails.

Grand Blanc was among 18 communities to receive $1,926,000 in grants this year.

The DNR introduced the Recreation Passport in 2010, replacing the traditional window sticker for state park access, with a purchase program tied to the renewal of license plate registrations.

Support for the Recreation Passport has steadily grown – more than a third of Michigan’s registered vehicles now have the Recreation Passport on their license plate tabs, and that means more available funding for grants.

Selected projects were scored and chosen from a field of 59 applications seeking $6.5 million in local funding. Successful applicants clearly demonstrated projects designed to broaden public access to quality outdoor recreation opportunities.

“Recreation Passport grants help communities of all sizes bring more and better recreation opportunities to residents of all abilities, and those types of amenities make communities stronger,” said Christie Bayus, Recreation Passport program manager. “During this time, having a fun, safe place to enjoy the outdoors is more important than ever, and these grants make projects to achieve that possible.”

Recreation Passports are required for vehicle entry into Michigan’s 103 state parks, 140 state forest campgrounds, hundreds of miles of state trails, historic sites, hundreds of boating access sites and other outdoor spaces.

With every sale of a Recreation Passport, 10 percent goes directly to the grant program.

“We’ve seen an upswing in the number of visitors coming out to use Michigan state parks, trails and other outdoor opportunities, as people look for COVID-safe ways to relax and get exercise,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief.

“Those visitors represent a direct investment in state parks and local parks, because about $1 from every Recreation Passport purchased funds those local park and recreation grants.”

The application period for the next round of Recreation Passport grant funding opens in January, with applications due April 1. Learn more about the program and application materials at Michigan.gov/DNRGrants. L.R.