Project Outside recently awarded $15,000 in grant funding to Roanoke’s Parks and Recreation Department. These funds will go toward Roanoke River Greenway repairs/improvements in Southeast Roanoke near Bennington Street. Project Outside, a first-of-its-kind campaign to fund the maintenance and development of outdoor assets and support outdoor-related businesses, is distributing $100,000 in grant funding for projects throughout the Roanoke Region, thanks to donations from corporate partners and individuals.
The Department chose to request funds for this project after severe flooding in 2020 destroyed fencing and sections of greenway tread. “Our outdoor assets play a pivotal role in making the lives of our citizens livable, and are critical social infrastructure,” said Michael Clark, Director of Roanoke Parks and Recreation. “With the age of the Roanoke River Greenway nearing 25 years in some sections, this funding will help supplement much needed repairs and ongoing maintenance.”
Project Outside funded 14 projects from 23 applications, including greenway repairs for sections damaged by flooding, machines for trail work, installation of a new river access ramp, tools for volunteer trail workers, development of outdoor program for underserved youth, disc golf course improvements, and support for outdoor businesses impacted by the pandemic. Grant applications totaled more than $300,000 in funding requests.
“The outdoors is integral to our region’s narrative and economic development strategy,” said Pete Eshelman, director of Roanoke Outside Foundation. “The goal of Project Outside is to invest in our community’s competitive advantage, the outdoors. Grants will be used to fund needed projects that will make an immediate impact in the community.”
The Roanoke Outside Foundation administers the grants for regional projects, broken out into three categories: Maintenance, new infrastructure, and organization support. Grant recipients are evaluated by the Roanoke Outside Foundation Advisory Council, which used a blind scorecard to allocate available funds to projects that demonstrated the highest and most immediate need, and ability to be completed in a timely manner.
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