This article was written by BenitoLink intern Kinsey Canez
California State Parks is spending $42.2 million to improve recreational opportunities for 25 parks statewide, with funds divided equally between the Rural Recreation and Tourism and Regional Park programs for local park grants.
San Benito County was awarded $2.4 million of the $23.1 million available from the Regional Park Program.
The grant will “enhance outdoor recreational facilities such as trails, campgrounds, multisports fields, skate and bike parks, and picnic areas,” according to a news release from the state Department of Parks and Recreation.
The $2.4 million will go toward creating Riverview Regional Park in Hollister. The funds will be used specifically for “constructing universal access trail and exercise stations, cross country course and markers,” according to the list of grant recipients. The park plans also include an “adventure playground, open lawn area and community garden, picnic area, RC car facility and geology exploration zone, pump track, sport court and pickleball complex and softball fields and disc golf.”
The county held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July for the first phase of the project.
REACH San Benito, a local foundation aiming to harness support for the enhancement of parks for San Benito residents, referred BenitoLink to the county when asked to provide comment on the Regional Park Program grant.
Steve Loupe, the county’s interim Resource Management Agency director, was not immediately available for comment.
“I look forward to seeing the projects come to fruition and for Californians to start enjoying them,” State Parks Director Armando Quintero said in the release. “Spending time in the outdoors not only helps us connect with our communities, but it can also support our mental and physical health. A healthier California is good for all of us.”
The release states that $235.8 million in Regional Park Program funding requests were received by the state parks department for the $23.1 million available in this application cycle, signaling an increase in need and desire for state investment in local park infrastructure.
Both programs, according to the release, are part of a larger effort to advance the Outdoor Access for All the Outdoors for All initiatives, which are working to expand outdoor access to Californians “with a priority of expanding access in underserved communities.”
“These park improvements are an exciting development as we invest in communities across our diverse state,” California’s Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot said. “All Californians deserve access to recreational opportunities, so that they can enjoy the outdoors and the cultural, historic and natural resources California offers.”
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