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County awarded $100,000 for Parthenon "FUN Park'


Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism has announced Newton County will receive $100,000 to construct a walking trail, pavilion, seating, play area, and accessibility features at Parthenon Community Park. The funding is coming through the Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) that resides within the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism’s Office of Outdoor Recreation which is tasked with the promotion and facilitation of public outdoor recreation in Arkansas.
To help accomplish these goals, the ORGP offers technical and funding assistance for land acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation facilities to local governments throughout the state. Funding for matching and FUN Park grants is provided by a portion of the Real Estate Transfer Tax administered by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.
Newton County's award is part of $4.34 million awarded to recreation projects in 29 counties. It falls under the category of Facilities for Underdeveloped Neighborhoods (FUN) Park grants.
The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program (ORGP) has provided $52.6 million in matching grants since 1988 and $16.4 million in FUN Park grants since 1991,” said Secretary Shea Lewis. “These funds have undoubtedly enriched the quality of life for Arkansans statewide, fostering greater access to outdoor recreation and bolstering the vitality of local economies."
These awards have helped cities and counties develop public outdoor recreation facilities.
“Our team works tirelessly throughout the year to provide more access to the outdoors for Arkansans through this grant program,” said Katherine Andrews, Director of the Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Project officers make recommendations regarding the feasibility of proposed facilities, eligibility for grant monies and other facets of the planning process. Each year, nearly 200 site visits are conducted to assist local communities. The grant checks will be presented to the awardees on March 7-8.

“It’s amazing to see the positive impact that even minor investments in neighborhood parks can have on a community,” said Matt McNair, director of the ORGP. “Visiting a community after one of our park projects has been completed can be absolutely stunning.”
Last June, the Newton County Quorum Court passed a resolution seeking the grant to build a FUN Park at Parthenon at the request of the community.
Catherine Baker, community development coordinator for the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD), discussed with the justices of the peace the possibility of acquiring a state FUN Park Grant to build a pavilion and adding playground equipment in the area near the community center and the volunteer fire station.
Unincorporated communities, sponsored by the county, can receive a maximum award of up to $100,000 without a required match in funding. Eligible projects are those that develop outdoor recreation facilities. If the grant is awarded, the county would be issued the entire grant amount prior to project development. Grant projects should be completed within two years of the award notice.
The resolution states that the county judge and the quorum court understand if funds for the park are granted, they must provide land, by lease or ownership, on which to develop park facilities, and will sign a contract agreeing to provide the necessary resources to maintain this park and facilities for a period of 25 years.