Passion for Parks and Green Infrastructure

Hundreds of communities across the country are planning green infrastructure components in their public parks, and APA is excited to be a part of that.

As part of its Great Urban Parks Campaign project, APA is working with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and the Low Impact Development Center (LIDC) to improve environmental and social outcomes in underserved communities through green infrastructure in local parks.

In April, the project partners announced a grant funding opportunity for green infrastructure projects in parks. Grant applications requesting up to $575,000 (out of $1.75 million in total available grant dollars) were solicited for projects that will:

  • Increase public access to recreational opportunities and access to nature via parks in underserved low-income communities and communities of color;
  • Improve environmental quality and increased hazard mitigation by reducing flooding, improving the site’s ability to hold and retain stormwater, improving water quality, improving wildlife habitat and increasing biodiversity; and
  • Improve environmental quality of life through green infrastructure solutions to stormwater management.

Over the course of nearly four weeks, we received 209 complete proposals representing projects in 44 states. Projects included a wide range of scales and types, from wetland restoration to rain gardens to porous playgrounds.

The 209 applicants were narrowed down to 35 semifinalists, and these were furthered winnowed to eight extremely strong finalists. Project staff from APA, NRPA, and LIDC made site visits in May and June to each of the eight finalists to get a complete picture of the proposals and how they fit in to their communities.

The grant recipients will be announced in July/August — stay tuned for news on the winners!

Program Partners

APA is partnering with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) on the Great Urban Parks Campaign. NRPA is a nonprofit education and membership organization representing approximately 50,000 park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates. It advances parks, recreation, and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.

APA is also working with the Low Impact Development Center (LIDC), a leader in the promotion and implementation of low impact development and green infrastructure.

About the Author

Jennifer Henaghan is APA's deputy research director.

Top image: The proposed Debbie Lightsey Nature Park in Tallahassee, Florida, is currently a combination of man-made stormwater ponds, natural wetlands, and forested area. Photo courtesy Blueprint.

June 24, 2016

By Jennifer Henaghan, AICP