New Jersey announces $10 million in grants for recreation projects to 162 towns

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Colorful playground empty. Outdoor playground set. Children playground equipment. Play area. Play yard. Children slide park equipment. School yard. Play ground

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ (DCA) Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) today announced the award of $10 million in Local Recreation Improvement Grants to counties, municipalities, and school districts across New Jersey to ensure public access to quality outdoor recreation and community resources. The grants were awarded to 162 local governments after a competitive application process.

“DCA is proud to assist local governments in repairing and upgrading their parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities into spaces that promote people’s physical and mental well-being,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “A big part of what makes a community healthy and vibrant is giving residents the opportunity to take a walk, play a game, and participate in sports and other activities with friends and neighbors in a safe and accessible place.” 

Grant recipients will use the funding to help cover costs associated with updating community centers, playgrounds, pools, fields, walking or bicycle trails, rail trails, multi-sport courts, and recreational facilities. The grants can also be utilized for one-time personnel costs directly related to improvements; project development professional services costs; equipment costs including playground and recreation facilities equipment; environmental remediation costs required to prepare recreation sites for use; and staff training costs.

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A full list of the recipients, including grant award and grant project, is posted at https://www.nj.gov/dca/dlgs/programs/lriggrants.shtml on the DCA website. 

“The Division of Local Government Services developed this program, in part, to provide quality outdoor recreational space for the residents of underserved communities,” said DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez. “This need has been especially heightened over the last couple of years as people searched for outdoor spaces to help alleviate the significant stress and anxiety brought on by the pandemic.” 

Grant applications were reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Scope of community impact, including need for project, effect on taxpayers, degree of transformation, projected use, and sustainability.
  • Work plan, including quality, feasibility, and expense eligibility.
  • Applicant’s commitment to recreation, including local match, other recreation grants, and a local plan for creating and maintaining recreational spaces.
  • Consistency with the policies and priorities of relevant state agencies with jurisdiction over the project site.

New Jersey counties, municipalities, and school districts were eligible to apply.

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The Local Government Improvement Grants are reimbursement-based. There is no advance

payment or drawdown of grant funds. Eligible costs are reimbursed to the local government when it submits evidence of payment of qualifying expenses to DCA.

The DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including local government management and finance, affordable housing production, fire safety, building safety, community planning and development, and disaster recovery and mitigation.