Funds available for flood-damaged rec areas

BOULDER – Organizers of The Fund to Restore Colorado’s Trails, Waterways and Parks announced on Tuesday that they have made $75,000 in funding available to nonprofit organizations to aid in their efforts to restore outdoor recreation infrastructure damaged by September’s flooding.

Priority will be given to projects in Boulder, Jefferson and Larimer counties. But proposals will be considered from all 11 counties that were given Federal Emergency Management Agency public-assistance designations, including Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Logan, Morgan and Weld in addition to Boulder Jefferson and Larimer.

The funding is available in grants of up to $5,000 per project and targets volunteer-based projects that rebuild trails and repair other parks and open space areas. The nonprofits, which will apply for the grants through a competitive request for proposals, can qualify for a maximum of $15,000 by bundling projects.

Organizations that apply for the funding must also prove that they have raised matching funds on their own that equal the amount they’re applying for.

Craig Mackey – an outdoors industry lobbyist who is the chairman of the fund’s board of advisers – said he thinks most of the projects awarded grants will be related to clearing debris, landscaping and planting trees to complement the efforts of local government agencies in repairing the outdoor spaces.

“That’s what we’re doing,” Mackey said. “We want to provide these local organizations, that can mobilize these volunteers, with some cash. Our money will go to organize the projects.”

Active Boulder, an industry association and advocacy group that promotes the outdoor, fitness and sporting goods industries in Boulder County, launched the fund. More than $100,000 has been raised so far, with most of that coming from a private String Cheese Incident concert hosted at eTown. Donations have also come in from outdoor companies and local businesses as well as private foundations and individuals. The $75,000 available now represents the first round of awards to be made, with fundraising ongoing.

The deadline to apply for the grants is 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21. A copy of the RFP and grant information can be found at www.tinyurl.com/restore-colorado-fund.

Awards announcements are planned for early April.

“Spring is coming,” Mackey said. “If we can get this money out there in April, people can get going on these projects in May and June.”

The Active Boulder fund, Mackey said, is complementary to similar efforts in the state, notably those of Great Outdoors Colorado, which has offered up to $5 million in grants for local governments in the 11-county area to repair their outdoor recreation infrastructure.

“Outdoor recreation drives Colorado’s quality of life and our local economies,” Kim Coupounas, an Active Boulder member and co-founder of Boulder-based apparel company Go-Lite, said in a press release. “We will not fully recover until our parks and trails are back up and running.”


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