County Executive Announces More Than Half Million in Grants to Invest in Local Communities, Recreation Economy
May 17, 2012
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive, (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858.
Belleville Lake, Sugar River Restoration Project One of Eight to Receive PARC Grant This Year
Exciting partnerships between Dane County, communities, and organizations looking to complete local projects to boost the county’s recreation economy will receive a $603,300 boost from the county, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Parisi made the announcement on the shores of the Sugar River and Lake Belle View in the Village of Belleville – one of several communities slated to receive a Dane County Partners for Recreation and Conservation (PARC) grant.
The PARC program partners the county with local communities looking to invest in projects that will help them strengthen their local economic development efforts through improvements to tourism, recreation, and conservation.
“Community partnerships have been the key to strengthening our local tourism economy despite difficult economic times,” said Parisi. “These worthwhile projects will enhance the quality of life for residents, and bring more visitors to communities across Dane County to hike, bike, fish, and more.”
The county’s $134,049 PARC grant for Belleville will help the village kick-off the next phase of its work to restore the lake for fishing and swimming. Plans include the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge to connect Lake Belle View, the Sugar River, and downtown Belleville to the Badger State Bike Trail.
The grant will also enable the Village to make major improvements to Community Park, including a boat launch and canoe take-out, parking lot expansion, and construction of nesting habitat for the Blanding’s turtle. A new trail separating the lake from the Sugar River will also improve the health of one of the top trout fishing streams in the state.
“PARC grants can be a meaningful spark for outdoor recreation in our communities,” said Dane County Supervisor Patrick Downing, who’s district includes Belleville. “And investing in these spaces improves the quality of life for residents across the county.”
PARC money awarded to the approved projects is matched on the local level by a local unit of government and or by the organization requesting the grant. In many cases, like the Lake Belle View restoration, local supporters are raising more money than the county’s contribution.
Other projects selected by the county to receive the PARC grants include Black Earth Creek improvements in Cross Plains; the construction of a trail in the Yahara River corridor in DeForest; improvements to cycling access and safety in Fitchburg; construction of phase one of the Lower Yahara River trail in McFarland; and construction of a multi-use path on Main St. in Cottage Grove.
The community of Sun Prairie also applied for a PARC grant for a bike path link between the city and Madison. They have been selected to receive assistance for their project through the Parks - Madison Prairie Development Account.
The Natural Heritage Land Trust was selected to receive funds to hire Operation Fresh Start’s youth conservation crew to work on several of the chosen PARC grant projects. The Ice Age Trail Alliance will also receive funds to help that organization develop a new segment of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and advance ecological restorations along the two currently existing trail segments.
Dane County Parks staff worked with the County Parks Commission to rank all the PARC grant proposals. Grant money will be awarded this summer, pending the Dane County Board’s final review of the Parks Commission’s funding recommendations.
# # #