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EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally published at the Ohio  Department of Natural Resources website.

COLUMBUS – Richland and Crawford County will each benefit, to the tune of nearly $155,000 combined, in monies from the NatureWorks grant program, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced Tuesday that it has approved more than $5.2 million through the program to improve recreation opportunities across the state.

“We are happy to partner with local communities to help them improve and develop outdoor recreation sites across the state,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “These grants will provide exceptional opportunities to expand local parks and encourage more people to get out into the fresh air.”

ODNR approved 115 projects in 79 counties. Projects include acquisition of new park lands and development of playgrounds, trails, restrooms, baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis and pickleball courts, swimming pools, kayak launches, disc golf courses, and more.

Locally, Richland County has two parks that will benefit.

A total of $53,749 is headed to Charles Mill Lake Park to remove and replace an existing playground at Eagle Point.

In Shelby, the sum of $38,483 is to be spent on rehabilitation of two tennis courts at Seltzer Park.

Crawford County also has two parks that will receive funding. The Crawford Park District will get $46,944 for the creation of a multi-use loop trail in Unger Park.

In Galion, $6,437 will go towards installation of a a prefabricated restroom at Cobey Park.

In Ashland County, $14,768 will go to Pleasant Hill Lake Park for the construction of two sets of bag toss courts for Campground Area F.

A full list of approved projects can be found here.

“These grants provide us a way to invest in outdoor recreation all over Ohio,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “This program gives communities the opportunity to make their local sites better for their families, friends, and neighbors.”

NatureWorks grants provide up to 75% reimbursement assistance to local government subdivisions (townships, villages, cities, counties, park districts, joint recreation districts, and conservancy districts) for the acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of recreational areas.

Projects are funded through the Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue, which was approved by Ohioans in November 1993. Additional legislation authorized the creation of the NatureWorks Grant Program.

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