The Park District of Ottawa County has opened its second round of outdoor recreation grant funding for Ottawa County political subdivisions, public schools and public libraries. The Board of Park Commissioners recently approved up to $200,000 in funds for the 2023 grant program, said Executive Director Jannah Wilson.
The funding had been provided by an 0.6-mill levy that Ottawa County voters approved in 2020. In its first round of grants in 2022, the Parks and Trails Improvement Grant Program funded nine projects throughout Ottawa County including Oak Harbor, Marblehead, Genoa, Put-in-Bay, Port Clinton, Danbury Township and Catawba Island Township.
Digital applications will be available online at ottawacountyparksoh.org/grants/ or by e-mailing Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants may also make an appointment to pick up a paper copy of the grant application forms by contacting the Park District office at 419-707-4051.
Completed applications must be submitted no later than Friday, Feb. 24 at 4:30 p.m. Applicants will be notified of grant approval status by Wednesday, March 8. Additional details can be found in the grant application document.
“Grant projects are required to provide improvements to public outdoor recreation facilities, green spaces, and/or trails located all or part in Ottawa County,” said Wilson. “The grant program is a productive way to work together toward common outdoor recreational goals within our local communities.”
Ottawa County may be known for its world famous Lake Erie fishing and Sandusky Bay waterfowl hunting, but local communities have a long way to go to create hiking and biking trails and other recreational projects. With help from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, water trails have been making waves in recent years, from the newly-designated Portage River Water Trail to a variety of water trails and small boat access ramps around East Harbor, West Harbor and the Lake Erie Islands.
The largest grant in 2022 was $59,900 awarded to the Village of Oak Harbor, which had been aggressively seeking funds for a downtown walkway and recreational park along the Portage River, which was named as a Water Trail by the ODNR last year. Along with $500,000 in funds from the State Capital Budget for the Portage River Walkway, Oak Harbor Mayor Quinton Babcock said the village can now move from the planning stages begun in 1985 to the execution stage.
Genoa received a $40,000 Parks and Trails Improvement Grant to help fund the much-needed construction of a restroom at Veterans’ Memorial Park. Also funded last year by the county parks were a welcome center in Marblehead and a playground in Port Clinton.