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Sen. MacDonald sponsors $150M local park improvement grant program

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Michael D. MacDonald on Tuesday introduced legislation to help improve local parks as part of a nearly $1 billion plan to make infrastructure upgrades at state and local parks in Michigan.

“My bill would use federal funds to make a historic investment in our local parks to help improve our outdoor recreation opportunities and enhance the quality of life for everyone in our state,” said MacDonald, R-Macomb Township. “Our local parks and trails are an everyday part of life for many Michigan families, and this program would help ensure that they are safe and accessible for people to enjoy for years to come.”

MacDonald’s bill is Senate Bill 704, which would invest $150 million in federal funds in a new Local Park Systems Grant Program to provide resources to local governments for the development or renovation of public recreation facilities and parks.

The other bills in the $968 million Upgrade MI Parks plan include SBs 702 and 703.

SB 702 would invest $508 million in federal dollars to fully fund the State Park Endowment Fund to provide a permanent funding source for the operation, maintenance, and capital improvements at Michigan’s state parks.

SB 703 would direct $250 million in federal funds to address the infrastructure backlog at state parks and recreation areas, $30 million for sports-related tourism and recreation in northern Michigan, and $30 million for the Mackinac Island state park fund.

“During the pandemic, people flocked to our state and local parks to enjoy the outdoors with family, which exposed much-needed improvements at many of our parks,” MacDonald said. “This one-time investment can help us address our aging park facilities and support our recovering communities.”

The bills have been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.