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FUN Park Grant

Grants to Small Arkansas Communities to Develop
or Enhance Outdoor Recreation Facilities

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Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism - Outdoor Recreation Grant Program

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

08/31/18 4:30 PM


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Grants of up to $50,000 to Arkansas municipalities and unincorporated communities with small populations to develop open-air outdoor recreational facilities. Funding may be used for materials, construction, fixed equipment, labor, and professional design and administration fees. Applicant must contact the ORGP office by July 27, 2018 to schedule an on-site meeting with the Project Officer. Priority will be given to facilities that help provide a balance of passive and active recreation activities for children and adults at the park.
Priority will be given to applicants who appear to have the greatest need, that have a suitable site for the proposed development, that can demonstrate their ability to complete the project in a timely fashion, and that can demonstrate their ability to operate and maintain the facility.

Site Selection and Property Requirements:

The applicant must own, lease, or have a written option to buy or lease property for proposed park development. The project site must be of sufficient size, suitable for park development, and convenient for local residents. The proposed project site must be inspected by department staff during a site visit to verify its suitability for the proposed park.

If the applicant does not presently own or lease the proposed site for development, they must submit a letter from the owner of the site expressing their willingness to sell or lease the property for a term of at least 25 years. Applicants that presently own or lease the proposed site must include a copy of the deed or lease with the application.

Funds will not be released to grantee until a fully executed deed or lease is submitted. If, in the future, the property is sold, the lease is terminated, or the site is abandoned or grossly neglected prior to the 25-year term, the grantee may be required to reimburse the State of Arkansas for the total amount of the grant.

Professional Design and Administration Services:

Applicants that receive a grant award will be required to retain the services of an architect or engineer (A/E) that is licensed in the State of Arkansas. Up to $5,000.00 of the FUN Park grant may be used for these services but generally A/E fees are about 10-12% of construction costs.

After applicants are notified of a grant award, the grantee shall retain an A/E to develop a site layout plan clearly showing proposed facility locations. Construction drawings and specifications will be required for site-built facilities. A/E will oversee construction of the project, and, upon completion certify that the completed development was constructed in accordance with site layout plan, construction drawings and specifications.

Barrier Free Access:

Barrier-free access, consistent with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, must be provided to all grant-funded facilities. Plans and specifications must clearly indicate provisions for handicapped access.

A general rule of thumb for accessibility is a person confined to a wheelchair has the ability to travel unassisted from a designated accessible parking space in the parking lot to the facility and to use the facility.

Accessible walkways and ramps shall be paved and follow the general contours of the site. Consideration should be given to slopes, cross slopes, surfaces, widths, and distances.

Facilities Eligible for Grant Funding:

Construction and/or installation of open-air outdoor recreation facilities are eligible for grant funding with the exception of pools and splash pads. Priority will be given to facilities that help provide a balance of passive and active recreation activities for children and adults at the park. Facilities shall be designed for heavy public use. The Outdoor Recreation Grants Program staff will review all design drawings and specifications submitted by each FUN Park grantee and determine if the proposed development is acceptable.

FUN Park Grant funds may also be used for renovating existing outdoor recreation facilities. Priority will be given to applicants that include barrier-free access to existing facilities in their project budget. Examples of renovations to existing facilities include re-roofing existing pavilions, replenishing fall zone material at an existing playground, and parking improvements.

Most commercial recreation equipment manufacturers and their representatives can provide FUN Park Grant applicants with a variety of options for modular playground structures, pavilions, basketball goals, ball field backstops, picnic tables, grills, etc. suitable for public use. Used construction materials or facilities are not allowable unless approved by department staff prior to use. Applicants are encouraged to compare costs and features from a number of park equipment vendors. A non-exhaustive list of park equipment vendors is provided on page 19 of the application guide. This list does not constitute an endorsement by the Outdoor Recreation Grants Program.

The following is a partial listing of common outdoor recreation facilities including requirements and factors to consider for each:


An acceptable playground shall consist of an integral play structure, separate play equipment or combination of both depending on applicant’s budget.

Installing play equipment locally is possible but may involve assuming liability for improper installation. Applicant should consult with park and play equipment vendors concerning installation options. Many offer installation instructions and/or supervision for local volunteers.

All playground equipment shall be new and selected in accordance with guidelines established by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Equipment selected shall be commercial grade and suitable for public use. This type of equipment is typically constructed of powder coated or galvanized steel to prevent rust and deterioration. Manufacturer's instructions regarding the installation of equipment shall be followed. Locally-constructed playground equipment will not be approved for FUN Park Grant funding.

Impact Material:

All areas under play equipment shall have impact-absorbing material approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) below play equipment. Engineered wood fiber is the most cost-effective impact material. This type of impact material shall be contained by a durable edging such as modular edging designed for this purpose. Engineered wood fiber and edging shall be installed in accordance with manufacturer's instructions.

At least one ramp into the playground area from the walkway system in the park must be installed to assure wheelchair accessibility. This type of ramp may be purchased from playground equipment vendors or may be incorporated into the accessible concrete walkway leading to the playground. Installed ramp shall be at least 3' wide with a maximum slope of 8%.

A variety of other types of impact surfaces may be used including rubberized poured-inplace material and tiles. Any impact surfacing must be installed under and around play equipment as specified by the manufacturer.


Grantee may construct a site-built pavilion or install a commercial pavilion. The interior space of the pavilion should be large enough to contain four 8-foot-long tables, generally 16' x 24' inside the supporting posts. Pavilions shall be constructed of durable materials that will resist weathering and heavy use.

The floor of the pavilion shall be concrete constructed on compacted subgrade and crushed stone base. Concrete should be reinforced as appropriate for local soil and site conditions. Concrete slab must be crowned in the center for positive drainage. Edge of concrete slab shall extend beyond roof line to disperse roof runoff without creating erosion. Adjacent soil shall be built up to be flush with the concrete surface to avoid tripping hazard.

Picnic Tables:

Tables shall be commercial grade with either galvanized or powder-coated tubular steel frames. It is recommended that table tops and benches be vinyl-coated expanded steel. Locally constructed picnic tables are generally not acceptable for purchase under this grant. At least one picnic table must be wheelchair accessible.

Cook Grills:

Firebox should be constructed of heavy gauge steel with openings for drainage. The grill should be mounted 30 to 34 inches above grade on a pedestal for accessibility.


Benches shall be permanently mounted and commercial grade. It is recommended that benches be vinyl-coated expanded steel. Locally constructed benches are generally not acceptable for purchase under this grant. Benches shall be securely mounted as specified by the manufacturer. Locally constructed benches are generally not acceptable for purchase under this grant.

Trash and Recycling Receptacles:

A variety of trash and recycling receptacles are commercially available from park equipment vendors but, because grant funds are limited, grantees may consider using steel drums with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage.


Parking should be designed to be all-weather, and accommodate approximately 10 cars. Parking areas must be graded for positive drainage and surfaced with compacted crushed stone, asphalt, or concrete.

Parking lot must include at least one clearlymarked wheelchair-accessible paved parking space. The accessible parking space shall be a minimum of 9 feet wide with an adjacent 5 feet wide access aisle that is striped. The access aisle shall connect to paved walkway for barrier free access to all funded park facilities.

Exercise Trails:

Trail should be a minimum of 6' wide, preferably 8' wide, to accommodate multiple users at the same time. Recommended layout of the trail is a serpentine loop with a length of approximately 1/4-mile to provide an enjoyable walking experience and allow for varied user fitness levels. One or more benches should be installed along the trail to provide resting station(s) for trail users.

Trail construction funded by the FUN Park Grant must be paved with maximum grades not to exceed 5%. Asphalt paving over crushed stone base is preferred but concrete paving is also an acceptable trail surface. As with all FUN Parkfunded facilities, the trail must provide barrier free access from designated handicapped-accessible parking space(s) and on the trail.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 172849

Number of Grants:

Only ten FUN Park Grants may be funded annually.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $50,000

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only municipalities with populations less than 2,500, or unincorporated communities sponsored by their county, are eligible for FUN Park Grant funding. Grantees will not be eligible to apply for future FUN Park grants within five years after receiving a FUN Park grant award.

Grant funds may not be used for:
-Purchase or lease park property
-Regular maintenance of existing parks
-Removable equipment or facilities
-Purchase of tools and construction equipment
-Supplies such as gloves, bats, balls, etc.
-Salaries for public officials and/or city workers
-Fees to prepare the application

FUN Park Grant funds may not be used as a match for any other grant program administered by the Department of Parks and Tourism or any other state agency.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The FUN Park grant application is straight-forward and was designed to be prepared by the applicant. If applicant prefers, the application may be prepared by the Economic or Planning and Development District Office in applicant's region or by a private consultant. Applicant must contact the ORGP office by July 27, 2018 to schedule an on-site meeting with the Project Officer assigned to your region of the state. This should be done prior to preparation of the application.

Pre-Application Information:

A $50,000 FUN Park Grant will likely challenge the grantee's ability to stretch funds and use local resources to complete the project within the grant amount. Local funds and contributions, such as site preparations and volunteer labor, may be required to complete the park.

The application deadline is 4:30 PM on August 31, 2018. Applications that are postmarked by that date will also be accepted. These grants do not require a local match.

A member of the ORGP staff will read and evaluate each application. Following a staff re-view, a letter describing any deficiencies or omissions will be mailed to the mayor or county judge. Noted deficiencies must be remedied by Friday, September 28, 2018.

Each qualified applicant will be invited to appear before the Governor-appointed Grants Advisory Committee at a public hearing held on Friday, October 26, 2018 at the Jacksonville Community Center. This hearing will allow each qualified applicant five minutes to describe their proposed project and answer any questions that the Committee might have concerning the applicant's ability to begin and complete the project promptly if they receive a grant award.

Application Forms:

Contact Information:

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

John Beneke, Program Director

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
One Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Arkansas