More Than $1 Million in Grant Funding Awarded to Support Park Improvement and Play Space Projects Nationwide

(June 1, 2018)

Grant funding provided by The Walt Disney Company

Ashburn, Va. (June 1, 2018) —  The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) today announced the winners of the national Meet Me at the Park Earth Month campaign, along with the recipients of this year’s Meet Me at the Park play space grants.

Meet Me at the Park has brought the fun of parks and recreation to children and families across the United States since 2014. This program is part of NRPA and Disney’s commitment to provide 1 million kids and families with greater access to play.

“NRPA is proud to collaborate with The Walt Disney Company and their ESPN and ABC Television media networks on these exciting programs,” said Rebecca Wickline, NRPA senior vice president of development. “ESPN and Disney ABC Television group have the power to help us reach hundreds of millions of people and their investment supports our vision that everyone deserves a great park and will bring children and families closer together through the power of parks and play. Congratulations to this year’s grant recipients.”           

Throughout Earth Month in April, the public cast their votes and nominations to direct grant funding for park improvement projects that connect kids to nature, inspire healthy living and provide access to sports. The Earth Month celebration highlighted the importance of parks and these park projects as they were promoted on various Disney platforms, including ESPN, ABC Television Network, ABC-owned and affiliate stations, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, the ABC app and other digital platforms.

Fifteen park projects were selected by popular vote and each received a $20,000 grant to help make improvements or expand programs. Projects that will receive funding include a traveling learn-to-ride bike trailer, an adaptive hiking program, a trail expansion, sports field furnishings and equipment, and a study-the-stars program. The voting public also nominated a 16th city, Weslaco, Texas, to receive an additional grant.

The 15 projects, as determined by public vote, are:

  • Austin, Texas: Ga-ga Ball Pits in Multiple Parks Across the City
  • Brevard County, Florida: Pioneer Nature Pathway at Sams House at Pine Island
  • Charlotte, North Carolina: Traveling Learn-to-Ride Bike Trailer
  • Chicago, Illinois: Big Marsh Trail Expansion
  • Durham, North Carolina: Rock Quarry Park
  • Fresno, California: F.R.O.G (Fresno Recreation Outdoor Group)
  • Hartford, Connecticut: "Hike It Out" at Keney Park
  • Houston, Texas: Wagner Neighborhood Park
  • Los Angeles, California: CLASS (Clean and Safe Spaces) Parks — Teen Summer Events
  • Miami, Florida: Eco Summer Adventures
  • New York, New York: Study the Stars at Flushing Meadows Corona Park
  • Orlando, Florida: Engelwood Neighborhood Center Adjustable Basketball Goals
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Adaptive Hiking Program
  • San Francisco, California: Greenagers at Bayview Hill Park
  • Seattle, Washington: Camp Long Camp Out

In addition, as part of the Meet Me at the Park play spaces program, 25 park and recreation agencies and cities nationwide were selected to receive $30,000 grants to support projects that increase access to play spaces in local parks for children and families. The projects selected include inclusive play spaces and trails, a beginner bike course, a ninja-themed nature play area, an outdoor performing space and sport court refurbishments. All the projects focus on inclusive play spaces that increase physical activity and play for children and families.

The 25 grant recipients are:

  • City of Birmingham, Alabama: Bessie Estell Park — inclusive play space
  • City of Pine Bluff, Arkansas: Davis Street community garden and play space
  • City of Colorado Springs, Colorado: Fountain Park at Hillside Community Center — beginner bike course
  • Broward County, Florida: Quiet Waters Park — nature trail
  • City of Augusta, Georgia: Henry H. Brigham Park — inclusive play space
  • City of Des Moines, Iowa: Belle Turner Park — inclusive trail space
  • City of Vinton, Iowa: Riverside Park — natural play space and pathway
  • City of Highland, Illinois: Rinderer Park — nature play space with inclusive features
  • Marion Park District, Illinois: Heartland Regional Medical Center — inclusive playground
  • Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas: Fisher Park — inclusive play space
  • City of Lewiston, Maine: Marcotte Park — inclusive play space
  • Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Minnesota: North Mississippi Regional Park — ninja-themed nature play area
  • City of Greensboro, North Carolina: Brightwood Park — nature play space with STEM in mind
  • City of Mount Airy, North Carolina: Riverside Park — transform basketball court into multi-court for people of all abilities
  • City of Columbus, Ohio: Carriage Place Park — new nature-themed playground
  • City of Toledo, Ohio: Junction Park — outdoor performing space with connection to nature and imagination
  • Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma: Pirau Park means "Children's Park" — park renovation with new basketball court and enhanced gathering spaces
  • City of Coatesville, Pennsylvania: Palmer Park — revitalization blending traditional recreation activities with re-imagined nature play
  • City of Central Falls, Rhode Island: Sacred Heart Park — basketball court refurbishment
  • City of Florence, South Carolina: Florence Inclusive Park — increased accessibility for new inclusive playground
  • Hidalgo County, Texas: Katrina Park — safe nature trail with fitness amenities
  • City of Burlington, Vermont: Oakledge Park — universal access to play space
  • City of Bremerton, Washington: Manette Neighborhood Park — multisport court and innovative parks features
  • City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Foundation Park — design and installation of play space surfacing with cultural symbols significant to the Hmong community
  • Greater Huntington, West Virginia: St. Cloud Commons — inclusive play space

Over the coming months, NRPA and Disney will work closely with the Earth Month and play space grant recipients, including volunteers from Disney who will participate in various projects. To see these projects come to life, follow the hashtags #MeetMeAtThePark and #DisneyPlaySpaces.

To learn more about Meet Me at the Park, visit www.nrpa.org/disneymeetmeatthepark.  

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org

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About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.