Grants could help outdoor recreational opportunities in area

Monday, July 24, 2017

Columnists and online comments have sometimes chided governments at all levels for the attitude that state and federal grants are free money.

Thatís a valid point. States like Nebraska, with constitutional requirements for balanced budgets, donít really have balanced budgets if you count the funding that results from federal deficit spending.

At the most basic level, any money that is spent by any government has only one source, the taxpayer, and officials should keep that in mind, and for the most part, they do.

Local control was somewhat restored by the establishment of the block grant system in the Reagan years, and that was a step in the right direction.

Local governments, however, must still work with the system in place, and that includes available grants.

For instance, the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission is accepting grant applications for parks, outdoor facilities and other projects promoting outdoor recreation.

Those are some of Southwest Nebraskaís strong points when it comes to tourism and economic development.

The grants are funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund under the National Park Service for outdoor recreation projects.

They are looking for projects like ballfields, soccer fields, swimming pools, picknicking facilities, playgrounds, pool renovations, splash pads, park acquisitions and development, and park-related support facilities.

Political subdivisions such as cities, county governments or Natural Resources Districts are eligible, and have until Oct. 13 to apply.

We hope some Southwest Nebraska entities take advantage of the opportunity.

Information and application materials are available here.

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