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Vermont Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Program

Grants to Vermont Government Agencies to
Acquire and Develop Parks and Green Spaces

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

12/17/18 12:00 Noon


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Grants to Vermont state and local government agencies for the acquisition and development of parks and open spaces. Applicants are required to submit a pre-application form. Funding is intended for projects that create open spaces, provide recreational opportunities to local residents, and protect forests and wildlife.

Eligible projects include the acquisition of land for parks and public outdoor recreation, or development of new facilities and/or renovation of existing facilities for outdoor recreation.

There are two general categories of projects that can receive LWCF funds: Acquisition and development. Funds are available for the acquisition of lands and waters or for the development and enhancement of public outdoor recreation facilities that are consistent with the outdoor recreation goals and objectives highlighted in the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) and recreation elements of local plans.

Eligible Acquisitions

An acquisition project should include the purchase of land for outdoor recreation purposes. A project may involve the acquisition of land to create a new park or expand an existing park. It may also consist of the acquisition of land for more than one park if the parks are of the same type. An example of a multi-site acquisition project is the purchase of land for two neighborhood parks or parcels for access points along a river to create a greenbelt park corridor.

Some examples of eligible acquisitions of land and water for public outdoor recreation include, but are not limited to:
- Community parks - sites in rural areas serving local, regional, and county recreational uses, such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, picnicking.
- Existing Recreational Facilities - privately owned facilities, such as swimming pools, golf courses and youth camps, which will no longer be operated by the private sector. The acquisition of an area or facility which is operated for public recreation is only eligible for LWCF assistance if it can be documented that the facility will be lost to recreation use if it is not acquired by the municipality/governmental entity.
- Linear parks - land which forms a greenbelt corridor for recreational use, such as a bike path or a multi-purpose trail, or a series of access points to a river for boating and fishing.
- Natural and Scenic Areas - natural areas, preserves and outstanding scenic areas, including areas adjacent to scenic highways, where the objective is to preserve the scenic or natural values, including areas of physical or biological importance and wildlife areas. These areas must be open to the general public for outdoor recreation use to the extent that the natural attributes of the areas will not be seriously impaired or lost.
- Structures - the acquisition of structures on property if the use will be for outdoor recreation, support of outdoor recreation activities or the structures have no value and are demolished to enable recreational development to take place. Project proposals must list all improvements and their proposed use or disposition.
- Water-Oriented Recreation Sites - areas with frontage on rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, and reservoirs; water bodies themselves; land for creating water impoundments; and areas that provide special recreation opportunities, such as floodplains and wetlands.

Eligible Acquisition Costs:
- Purchase costs of real property.
- Purchase costs of easements and other rights and interest in real property.
- The value of real property donated to the project sponsor by private entities may be eligible for the sponsors matching share, as determined by appraisal.
- Incidental and relocation assistance costs ONLY as allowed by the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act.
- Acquisition costs of land from another public agency at the minimum cost allowed by law.
- Costs of real property acquired through exchanges, subject to appraisal requirements, for one tract of land having greater value than another.

Development projects can be the construction or rehabilitation of outdoor recreation facilities or areas. A major rehabilitation project may consist of the repair, restoration, or reconstruction of eligible facilities, which is necessitated by obsolescence, building code changes, or normal wear and tear not attributed to a lack of maintenance.

Plans for the development of land and/or facilities should be based on the needs of the public, the expected use, and the type and character of the area. Facilities should be attractive for public use and generally be consistent with the surrounding environment. Plans and specifications for the improvements and/or facilities should be in accord with established engineering and architectural practices. Emphasis should be given to the health and safety of users, accessibility to the general public, and the protection of the recreation and natural values of the area. Facilities can only be developed on properties that the project sponsor has title to or complete control and tenure.

Eligible Facilities for Development (examples):
- Sport playfields
- Hiking, biking and walking trails
- Camping
- Picnic facilities
- Boating facilities
- Swimming areas
- Playground areas
- Restroom buildings
- Roads, parking, landscaping, and walkway

Eligible Costs for Development:
- Construction costs, which may include necessary construction activities from site preparation to completion of the project within limits of the scope of work.
- Certain types of permanent recreation equipment are eligible, provided it is required by state law or regulation to make a facility initially operable. Such equipment might include sprinkler systems, pumps, lifeguard stands, tennis nets, baseball backstops and similar items.
- Informational and directional signs at entrances, exits, or other necessary locations throughout the project area, interpretive facilities for items of particular interest, and certain other facilities intended to explain the project or draw the public to it.
- Cost of purchasing, leasing, or renting items of equipment clearly necessary for successful completion of the project can be eligible for fund assistance. The purchase of equipment for maintenance or operational purposes (i.e. mowers) is not eligible.

Pre-agreement Costs for Development:

The costs of site investigation and selection, site planning, feasibility studies, preliminary design, environmental assessment, preparation of cost estimates, construction drawings and specifications may be eligible for assistance although incurred prior to project approval.

The use of professional, outside consultants in the formulation of project proposals is encouraged. Thus, the development of work programs, cost estimates and budgets, work flow charts, and such other items as are necessary to develop a sound planning program by outside consultants, university personnel, or by appropriate state personnel may be allowable costs, although incurred prior to project approval.

All pre-agreement planning costs incurred within three years prior to project submission to National Park Service are allowable. Eligible planning costs incurred beyond three years may be allowable provided the earliest date from which they are incurred is identified in the project agreement. The sponsor must provide sufficient information to justify the amounts of such pre-agreement costs, periods during which they were incurred and their purpose to justify the applicability to the particular project. If you question the eligibility of any costs related to your project, contact the office.

Applicants should be sure to follow their municipality’s procurement standards for hiring a consultant. A number of proposals must be solicited from qualified consultants and the applicant must be able to document why they made their particular choice.

School Related Projects:

Playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities on public school grounds for joint school/general public use are eligible, provided that the facilities are not part of the normal and usual program and responsibility of educational institutions and that they otherwise meet requirements for a grant under the LWCF program. Facilities needed to meet the physical education and athletic program requirements of a school may not receive fund assistance. The grant application must include a schedule of the time the facility will be available to the public. The schedule of use substantiates the primary intent of the project as being public community outdoor recreation. Additionally, adequate signs must be installed, prior to final payment on the project, at the site indicating when the outdoor recreation facilities are available to the general public.

Use of federal money for playground equipment requires meeting national safety standards. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission developed the "Handbook for Public Playground Safety" as a blueprint to help local communities and other groups build safe playgrounds. This handbook includes technical safety guidelines for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining public playgrounds.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 150261

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Funds are for municipalities and state agencies only (i.e., towns, cities, regional park districts, school districts, and state agencies).

Acquisitions Ineligible for Assistance:
- Historic sites and structures.
- Museums and sites to be used for museums or primarily for archaeological excavations.
- Land to help meet a public school's minimum site size requirement, as established by State or local regulations.
- Areas and facilities designed to be used primarily for semi-professional and professional arts and athletics.
- Areas and facilities to be used solely for game refuges or fish production purposes.
- Areas to be used mainly for the construction of indoor facilities. Also prohibited are areas where existing indoor recreation facilities, if left in place, will not leave sufficient area at the site for development of outdoor recreation facilities to justify the cost of the acquisition.
- Sites containing luxury lodges, motels, cabins and similar elaborate facilities which are to be operated by the project sponsor or concessionaire to serve recreationists with food and sleeping quarters.
- Agricultural land primarily for preservation in agricultural purposes

There are no pre-agreement costs that are eligible for LWCF reimbursement involving land acquisition.

Ineligible Acquisition Costs:
Incidental costs relating to the acquisition of real property and of interests in real property such as appraisal fees, legal fees or legal boundary map expenses, unless allowable under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act, PL 91-646, are not allowable.

Ineligible Facilities for Development (examples):
- Indoor facilities (except swimming pools and ice skating rinks)
- Community centers
- Historic buildings
- Park manager’s residences
- Meeting rooms
- Auditoriums
- Maintenance equipment
- Commercial-type amusement centers

Ineligible Costs for Development:
Note: These expenditures cannot be included in the project cost estimate as a basis for determining financial assistance because they are not eligible for reimbursement.
- Ceremonial or entertainment expenses
- Expenses for publicity
- Bonus payment of any kind
- Charges for contingency reserves or other similar reserves
- Charges for deficits or overdrafts
- Taxes for which the organization involved would not have been liable to pay
- Interest expenses
- Charges incurred contrary to the policies and practices of the organization involved
- Damage judgments arising out of acquisition, construction, or equipping of a facility, whether determined by a judicial decision, arbitration or otherwise
- Operation and maintenance costs of outdoor recreation areas and facilities
- Cost of discounts not taken
- Equipment to be used for the ongoing maintenance of outdoor recreation areas and facilities including, but not limited to, automotive equipment, tractors, mowers, other machinery and tools
- Employee facilities including residences, appliances, office equipment, furniture, and utensils
- Donations or contributions made by the sponsor, such as to a charitable organization
- Salaries and expenses of the office of the Governor or of the chief executive of a political subdivision, or of the State legislature or similar local governmental bodies
- Fines and Penalties
- The sponsor is responsible for any costs in excess of those included in the confirmed cost estimate
- Any losses and related costs arising from uncollectible accounts and other claims
- Legal and professional fees paid in connection with raising funds

The development of facilities primarily for the interscholastic sports, such as stadiums, and athletic fields with grandstands or more bleacher seating than would normally be required for non-interscholastic athletic use, are not eligible for assistance.

Pre-Application Information:

Pre-applications are available and due on October 15, 2018.

Full Applications are due December 17th, 2018. You must submit a pre-application by October 15th in order to submit a full application.

Please note that LWCF is a 50-50 match program.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit the pre-application form to:
Jessica Savage

Land and Water Conservation Fund
Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
1 National Life Drive Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05604

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